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Thou whose sweet youth and early hopes enhance
Thy rate and price, and mark thee for a treasure,
Hearken unto a verser, who may chance
Rhyme thee to good, and make a bait of pleasure,
A verse may find him who a sermon flies, %^
And turn delight into a sacrifice.
PUBLISHED BY JOSEPH DOWE.
Entered according to an Act of Congress in the year 1835,
By Joseph Dowe,
In the Clerk's office of the District Court of the District of
Samuel N. Dickinson, Printer,
52 Washington Street.
This selection of poems has been made
from a series of volumes published in England,
and edited by Mrs. Jevons, the daughter of
the late William Roscoe. It has been done
in the hope that it will find as indulgent a
reception among us, as the original work has
received in a foreign country, on account of
the stainless purity of its spirit, the simple
truth of its sentiment, and the deep, yet chas-
tened fervour of its piety.
The Sacred Offering is presented to the
public, with some confidence, that those who
love to read poetry of a tender, and spiritual
kind, will find many pages in accordance with
their own hearts ; and that, with the pleasure
arising from a poetical source, a more devout
spirit may be cherished, is the sincere wish
Boston, Dec. 15, 1835.
Immortality of Thought, 9
The Sabbath, 12
To an Absent Friend, 15
The Sabbath Day, 17
The Penitent, 19
Friends in Heaven, 21
The Parting, 22
The Land of the Blest, 25
Shepherd of Israel, 28
Communion with God, 30
The Christian Daughter, 32
On being relieved from severe and long continued pain, .' .34
The Grave, 34
The Adieu, 36
Immortality, .... ...... 38
The Forsaken, 39
To a Daughter, on the Day of her Marriage, ... 40
Lines on Ecclesiastes 1. 7 44
The Spirit of Man, 48
On the Departure of a Friend, 67
On the Death of a Beautiful Boy, 70
The Spirit's Trust, 72
The Past and the Future, 74
Lines on John vi. 68, 77
Lines on John xxi. 22, 78
A Dying Scene, 79
Evening Hymn, 81
And God said, Let there be light, and there was light, . . 84
Lines on Job xxxiv. 29, 86
Natural Beauty, 90
Moral Beauty, 92
Lines on ii. Cor. iv. 16, , . 95
Lines on Matthew xxx. 34, 97
O Father, let this cup pass from me j nevertheless, not as
I will, but as thou wilt, 98
The Consumptive Girl, • 99
The Child at Prayer, 103
Lines on Acts xii. 6 — 12, . . . . . . 104
Truth and Immortality, 106
The waters were abated, . 110
The Sabbath School, 114
The Lost, 116
Evening Hymn, 121
Lines composed in Autumn, 122
Morning Hymn, . ' 126
The Sea-shore, 129
Paraphrase of the Lord's Prayer, 130
The Mother's Prayer. 131
Recollections, ... * 134
Sonnet on Milton, 138
The Heart-Stricken, 142
Verses to , 143
Christian Consolation, 146
The Autumn Dirge, 148
The Churchyard, 154
The Worshipper of Nature, 157
To a Friend on Parting, 159
The Mourner, 162
The Vision, 164
Hymn, .... 169
Morning Hymn, 170
Sonnet on the late Rev. J. Buckminster, .... 172
The Stream of Life, . 173
Divine Protection, . 176
The Departed, 178
Lines on John, chap, ix . 183
Weep Not, 184
The Absent Friend, ]85
Hymn, • 186
The Past, 187
Death, . J 192
The Blind, . 195
The Sisters, 197
Consumption, . 201
Heavenly Messengers, 204
The Heart's Mystery, 205
Sleep, Spirit, Sleep, 210
The Religion of Nature, 211
The Peace of Heaven, 215
BIMORTALITY OF THOUGHT.
There is an immortality in things
That seem to flash, and sparkle, and expire ;
The soul a deathlessness around it flings,
As sparks from fire.
How much of good one spirit may pour forth,
Robed in its own inborn infinity ;
How much of evil scatter o'er the earth,
That will not die !
Mind is the concentration of the thought
Of other minds — a bright and burning dower
Of rays, into one glowing focus brought
By its own power.
E'en things inanimate their tribute cede
To its resistless power ; like as the sun
Exhaleth dew from every flower and weed
It shines upon.
10 THE SACRED
What is our life ? but one unceasing round
Of passing intercourse of man with man ;
Of beautiful relations, closely bound
Into one span!
Of meetings, which seem chance, but are not so ;
Of passions, of commingling feelings born ;
Of mutual love, of common joy or woe,
Of hate, or scorn !
A vision, but imperfectly revealed,
Of when, or where our meeting next may be :
We part, and thus one page of life is sealed
If this be parting, that the eye doth note
A change, as if its light in part were gone,
And the ear mark, from sounds that round it float,
An absent tone.
Our moral life, our influence is not gone,
When the material bonds around us break ;
In other minds our spirit still lives on ;
Though dead, we speak.
Of the brief intercourse of kindred minds,
What embryo crime, incipient good has birth ;
Which voices, traceless as the winged winds,
Will utter forth ?
Mind in its vast creativeness, may give
Existence unto that it knows no more ;
And even our forgotten thoughts may live
Beings unknown, that evil will inherit,
Remorse itself is powerless to recal ;
Though from the anguish of a broken spirit
A voice should call.
The good is safe with Him, who best can choose
Meet instruments to work his will below —
" A vessel fitted for the master's use : "
And be it so.
Ye, who would mark its influence beyond,
Ask, whence the courage which makes nations free, —
The mercy that would break the iron bond
Of slavery ?
These gleamings of a feeling most sublime,
(As lightnings o'er the cloud their brightness throw)
Out-breaking in this world, 'midst all its crime
And all its woe.
How large a portion of that bliss, which springs
First from His love, who every gift imparts,
Is nurtured in the noiseless communings
Of human hearts ?
12 THE SACRED
And thence diffused, still blessing and to bless,
A heritage to ages yet to come,
Itself the element of happiness
Beyond the tomb.
Thousand ideas fall, which none may mark :
One may survive our perishable name.
We know not, from a burning brand, which spark
Kindles the flame.
Immortal thought ! could we but know and feel
Where the deep impress thou canst make may be,
How should we pause, and tremble to reveal
Aught ill of thee !
' A pillar of the cloud ' seems o'er the earth,
Guarding its rest, as if 't were hallowed ground ;
There is a sound of bliss, but not of mirth,
A quiet happiness diffused around.
Peace, heavenly peace, the Sabbath doth pervade,
The peace of God, descending from on high,
Unlike aught else : night hath a stilly shade,
Dear to the weary frame and failing eye ;
But something dearer, holier, still more blest,
Is in this Sabbath hush — It is the spirit's rest.
Then, from the temple of our God, ascends
The music of glad voices. At His shrine,
Sorrow, in pious resignation, bends ;
And joy looks upward to its fount divine.
Yes, 't is a glorious thing to think of all
The thousands at one moment met to pray ;
Of those we love, whose destined pathways fall
Far, far from ours ; for when we feel that they
Join in the song of gratitude, which we
Raise to our Father's throne, how near they seem to
They are the Sabbaths of our early years,
That tell of something sacred to the heart,
Which is not of the world — which man reveres,
Though pride, and wealth, and honor have no part
Or portion there ; and the young spirit hence
Its first pure lesson of devotion learns,
Felt, though not heard — a holy influence ;
And fondly in his age the pilgrim turns
A look to those calm days, which raised his eyes
Unto that better rest, a Sabbath in the skies.
Sweet is the retrospect ; each Sabbath day
Is a marked spot upon the path of time,
Bright through all change. What though life's
Lie through the world's high places — though its
Be filled with hope, and many a festal hour
Leave sunshine on its track — of all the past,
What is there gifteth memory with such power
To cheer life's closing evening to the last,
As those pure joys which brighten more and more,
vVhen all of earthly bliss we feel must soon be o'er.
Blest Sabbath ! prototype of joys unknown,
Earnest of better things which are to be.
Oh thou art not the world's, but the heart's own,
The link 'tween time and far eternity.
Thine was the morning when the Saviour rose,
Sealing our hope of immortality ;
And that remembrance in thy light still glows ;
More than the rainbow's promise is with thee,
Teaching where comfort lies when trials come,
Or o'er life's gladness pass dark shadows from the
We mourn for friends still loved, though seen no
We think of what they were, what now they are, —
And then the Sabbath sunbeam glances o'er,
And faith reflects its radiance as a star.
The past and future fall, like light and shade,
Across the unknown track which lies between ;
Then, slowly, one by one, the shadows fade,
Till hope and memory give, in one bright scene,
The last brief moments to those loved ones given —
The next, the very next, the Sabbath day of heaven.
TO AN ABSENT FRIEND.
My friend, in hours of thought and care,
In evening hours of holy musing,
When converse sweet we wont to share,
Thy words the balm of peace infusing ; —
No more I meet thy smile of love, —
I gaze around the little room,
And start to hear thy footstep move,
As it was gently wont to come.
In vain — in different paths we tread —
And thou no more mayest soothe or cheer ;
Yet have those hours of friendship shed
A sweetness that still lingers here.
And many a deep and holy thought,
And high resolve, shall breathe of thee ;
And hours with toils and duties fraught
Shall consecrate thy memory.
And when I breathe the voice of praise,
Or tune the lighter lay of gladness, —
Or when the fainting prayer I raise
In the dark hour of pain and sadness, —
In joy — in grief — thine image still
Shall beam in brightness on my way ;
My soul with holier faith to fill,
And guide me to a happier day.
Then not in vain have been these scenes,
Though distance may our love divide ;
For though the cold world intervenes,
And time and change our fates betide ;
Yet life, in all its varying lot,
Of bliss or suffering, will not view
The hour when thou wilt be forgot,
Or friendship's prayer arise less true.
THE SABBATH DAY.
'T is not as when th' Eternal mandate came,
'Let there be light ! ' that now, sweet Sabbath day,
Thy opening beams upon my casement play,
Bidding me life from dreamy sleep reclaim:
But rather art thou like that blessed hour
When Jesus burst the fetters of the tomb,
And the dark visions of our earthly doom
Fled from the glories of the living power.
So soft thy rays upon my soul descend,
The harbingers of faith, and hope, and love,
Which, through thy quiet day, my soul shall prove
For Him on whom all earthly joys depend :
For Him who scatters thus the shades of night,
And brought His only Son to life and light.
I hail the radiance of thy noontide beams,
Dear Sabbath ! blighter than the kindling rays
That wont to cheer our souls in other days,
Less blest than thou ; and now all nature seems
18 THES ACRED
More joyful and more sweet. The very bird
Carols more softly in the woodland shade ;
And as I listen through the opening glade
The melting sound of village bells is heard.
'T is silent — then a rich and solemn strain
From human voices swells upon the air
With melody divine. And thou art there,
Spirit of peace, amongst that humble train
Of thy own followers ; and I bless the power
That dwells around me in this Sabbath hour.
Now in the stillness of the evening hour —
A Sabbath stillness — I would bend my way
Far from the haunts of men, where gently play
The sun's departing rays on eveiy flower,
Closing in seeming sleep their dewy leaves ;
Or, 'mid the scene of man's mortality,
With eye uplifted to the deep blue sky,
Rest on the mother earth, who still receives
Her children to a cold and long embrace.
But not for ever! — she shall yield again
The forms we loved so well, and not in vain
Shall be their slumbers in this sacred place ; —
That which is sown in earth, shall bloom above,
In the pure heaven where dwells eternal love.
Blest is the Sabbath night, when silence keeps
Her faithful vigil o'er the slumbering world ;
When the pure glories of the heavens unfurled,
Tell of His love and care who never sleeps.
Blest is the Sabbath night, to him who dares
To gaze, with tranquil eyes, as darkness falls
Around his couch of rest ; who then recals
Past hours of sacred joy, and swift repairs,
With kindling bosom, to communion sweet
At an eternal shrine — no conscious dread
Of unrepented guilt shall haunt his bed ;
No shades of wasted days his eyes shall greet,
But softly, as the light of morn arose,
Shall the calm Sabbath of the Christian close.
LUKE, CHAP. VII.
Low kneeling, o'er the Saviour's couch she bends -
Where, pale with toil, the pure, the all-perfect lay-
20 THE SACRED
And from her dovelike eyes a flood descends
In tears like rain, melting her soul away.
And as the heavy drops incessant shower
Upon those sacred feet, so bruised and bare,
She, with the long dark ringlets of that hair,
Which clouding veils her beauty's fading flower,
Wipes them ; while reverend kisses, humble sighs,
And penitential groans, successive rise ; —
She weeps her sin — her heart's un worthiness —
The pangs of Him who dies to make them less —
Around, the crowd with whispering murmurs stand —
Indignant wonder in each bosom burned,
Contemptuous eyes, the drooping mourner scanned,
With angry brows, in dark enquiry turned.
But He, who is all pity, raised his eyes,
Where love and majesty serenely shone —
Simon — who loveth best ? — he who the prize
Hath cheaply purchased, or hath dearly won ?
From thee — the righteous — these poor wearied feet
No kind refreshing stream of water cheers,
Healing these way-worn wounds — no incense sweet—
But she hath washed them with her falling tears.
Thou with no friendly kiss salut'st thy guest,
While on my feet, her lips are fondly prest.
Because her love is great, her pains shall cease —
Thy sins are pardoned, daughter — Go in peace.
FRIENDS IN HEAVEN.
Sealed is the voice that used to speak
So gladly of our loved and lost ;
And at their names pale is the cheek,
Even of the friends that loved them most.
A solemn silence shrines the dead —
A sacred hush — a faltering tone ;
And trembling footsteps slowly tread
Upon the spot so late their own.
Not thus I feel their hourly loss —
J think of them in light and love ;
Emblem of life, I view the cross,
And faith's fond gaze I turn above.
I miss them — ah ! in every place ;
I sometimes feel the unbidden tear ;
I cherish every fading trace,
But never, never wish them here.
Their tears are past, their crown is won,
Th' immortal wreath is all their own ;
I seem to hear the chaunt begun,
Of joy around th' eternal throne.
Yes, thoughts of peace and holiness
Surround their images ; to me,
'T is not a feeling of distress
To muse on their loved memory.
'Tis hope, 'tis triumph, and 'tis praise;
O God ! to thee be glory given,
Who, in the darkest of our days,
Hath linked us to the bliss of heaven.
I will not yield this pure delight
To vain regrets or faithless sighs ;
Memory to me shall shine, a light
To blend our severed destinies.
She saw him go — her heart foretold
A long, a final parting there ;
She pressed him in a lingering fold,
She shed on him a mother's tear —
He bent his face — he bent and wept —
Trembling he thought of coming years ;
And on the breast where he had slept,
In infant days, he poured warm tears.
Another blessing — one more kiss,
And then the exile turned away ;
And was it for an hour like this
That on her knee he wont to play.
O were her tenderness and love,
Her long, long w T atchings all forgot,
That he, with careless foot, can move
To where her smile must greet him not ?
And can he go, and leave her now,
When age and sorrow leave their trace
On that pale cheek and furrowed brow,
Nor linger in that last embrace ?
Mother, farewell ! one moment more,
His manly bosom swelled too fast ;
His arms from her fond grasp he tore,
And gave one gaze — it was the last.
He came again in after time —
No gentle voice fell on his ear ;
He came from a far distant clime —
Alas ! no mother's smile was there.
And yet the wanderer sought the spot
Where those last words had blest the air ;
Each look, each feeling unforgot,
He poured his fond remembrance there.
And as he bent again, and wept
Where he had fondly wept before ;
And thoughts that long had slumbered swept
Across his heart — a thrilling store :
There seemed to breathe a soothing voice —
My child, my sufferings all are o'er;
O! check those bitter tears — rejoice,
And seek me on th' eternal shore.
He who denied his Lord, at the mild gaze
Of his reproaching eye turned round, and wept ;
A thousand troubled thoughts his bosom swept,
And better had he borne heaven's angiy blaze,
Than that meek glance, that look of sorrowing love,
Which with such deep remorse his bosom filled.
Ah ! do not Christian duties unfulfilled
Bear our denial to the throne above ?
And as we hear the mild and sacred law
Which marks our faithlessness, O do not we
Review our careless life indignantly,
And feel a holier hope our bosoms draw
To that blest word, that pure, reproving light,
Which beams with heaven's own radiance on our
THE LAND OF THE BLEST.
c Dear father, I ask for my mother in vain,
Has she sought some far country, her health to regain ?
Has she left our cold climate of frost and of snow,
For some warm, sunny land, where the soft breezes
8 Yes, yes, gentle boy, thy loved mother has gone
To a climate where sorrow and pain are unknown ;
Her spirit is strengthened, her frame is at rest,
There is health, there is peace, in the Land of the
26 THE SACRED
' Is that land, my dear father, more lovely than ours,
Are the rivers more clear, and more blooming the
Does Summer shine over it all the year long?
Is it cheered by the glad sound of music and song ? '
' Yes, the flowers are despoiled not by winter or night,
The well-springs of life, are exhaustless and bright,
And by sweet voices sweet hymns are addrest
To the Lord, who reigns o'er the Land of the Blest.'
e Yet that land to my mother will lonely appear ;
She shrunk from the glance of a stranger, while here ;
From her foreign companions I know she will flee,
And sigh, dearest father, for you and for me.'
' My darling, thy mother delightest to gaze
On the long severed friends of her earliest days ;
Her parents have there found a mansion of rest,
And they welcome their child to the Land of the Blest.'
6 How I long to partake of such meetings of bliss,
That land must be surely more happy than this ;
On you, my kind father, the journey depends,
Let us go, to my mother, her kindred and friends.'
' Not on me, love ; I trust I may reach that bright
But in patience, I stay, till the Lord's chosen time,
And must strive, while awaiting his gracious behest,
To guide thy young steps to the Land of the Blest.
< Thou must toil through a world, full of danger, my
Thy peace it may blight and thy virtue destroy;
Nor wilt thou, alas! be withheld from its snares
By a mother's kind counsels, a mother's fond prayers.
Yet fear not ; the God whose direction we crave,
Is mighty to strengthen, to shield, and to save,
And his hand may yet lead thee, a glorified guest,
To the home of thy mother, the Land of the Blest. 5
Go, child of nature, to thy mother's breast,
And learn the lesson she can teach so well ;
No longer in the lap of folly rest,
But hear the truths that nature loves to tell.
Go to the forest when the tempest lowers —
List to the roaring of the mighty wind ;
Ask by what force the raging torrent pours,
Or why the wilderness it leaves behind.
Go to the bubbling fountain and the rill,
Or mark the gentle fall of silent dew ;
28 THE SACRED
Ask whence the stream its wasted course shall fill,
Or who the lapse of waters will renew.
Go to the bee, and watch its daily toil,
And ask what sweetens labor and repose ;
Who bears it onward, laden rich with spoil,
And guides it home to rest at evening's close.
Go to the bird, that seeks her leafy nest,
To guard her young-ones with her sheltering wings ;
Ask who it is that plumes her downy breast,
And tunes her voice to music while she sings.
Go to the streamlet, murmuring through the vale —
Gaze on the wreathing flowers that o'er it twine ;
Will they not tell their own untutored tale,
And say ' The hand that made us is divine.'
SHEPHERD OF ISRAEL.
Shepherd of Israel, hear my prayer,
And to my cry give heed :
Shepherd of Israel, lead me where
Thy flocks in safety feed.
Whether upon the barren hills,
Or on the desert bare,
Strike but thy rod, the purest rills
And greenest herbs are there.
The shadow of a mighty rock
Is in that weary land ;
And heavenly dews fall on the flock
Protected by thy hand.
The winds that blight, the wolves that slay,
In vain their fury spend ;
Thy crook of love points out the way,
Thy gracious arms defend.
Lead me, O lead me to thy fold,
Earth has no rest beside ;
Shepherd of Israel, known of old,
Be only thou my guide.
Whether the way be dark and drear,
Or flowery, bright, and fair,
Shepherd of Israel, be thou near,
And keep my footsteps there.
Whether where trees of Lebanon
Or tents of Kedar rise,
Shepherd of Israel, lead me on —
My home is in the skies.
COMMUNION WITH GOD.
Sweet is the mother's midnight prayer,
Breathed on her slumbering infant's cheek ;
And sweet the thoughts that hover there,
And even her watchful pillow seek.
Oh yes, 't is blest — yet can this vie
With faith and hope's uplifted eye ?
'T is sweet to meet the smile of love,
And cull the opening flowers of youth ;
And, in a cherished home, to prove
Of former hopes the raptured truth ;
But is it not more sweet to bend,
When prayers and tears to heaven ascend ?
And fortune — - in her brightest hour,
While mirth and pleasure round her shine,
Has she one joy like the deep power
Of silent trust that now is thine ?
One smile so blest as that which glows,
As we the holy page unclose ?
O think it not : there cannot be
On earth a joy so pure and high,
As when the soul to God would flee,
And communes with eternity ;
Draws from the living spring its bliss,
And turns to heaven for happiness.
The mother's dearest one may fade,
The lover's smile grow pale or cold ;
Even home's calm hope the darkening shade
Of later life forbid to hold ;
But what shall fail the humble heart,
Which in eternity has part ?
O do not doubt — no, not though care,
And grief, and struggling clays be thine ;
Go, pour thy burthened heart in prayer,
For peace shall meet thee on that shrine ;
Nor think one happier path is trod,
Than that which leads the soul to God.
THE CHRISTIAN DAUGHTER.
Where should a widowed father rest
His head, but on a daughter's breast ?
When age, with trembling step, is near,
And happiest hours are dimmed with fear,
And weakening hand, and shortening breath,
Come like the harbingers of death ;
And brief the space that lies between
Sweet converse and the eternal scene ;
O ! where, when aged, tired, opprest,
Where should a father seek for rest ?
Kind cares and watchful love should try
To meet the wishes of his eye,
And gentleness should be the power
To sweeten life's declining hour,
And love should lighten and sustain
Days of infirmity and pain,
And soft as prayer should be the tread
Of footstep round the aching head,
And many a deep and holy thought,
Of fond affection's influence wrought,
In tender duty should expand
Kind look, meek word, and willing hand.
Yes ! when the world is fading fast,
And every effort feels the last,
And all around is sadly loved,
And soon perhaps to be removed,
And sorrows others may not share
Come in the hour of thought and prayer,
With many a lonely, untold grief,
Where God alone can give relief;
O ! then when conflicts of the heart,
And troubled hopes their strife impart,
Say what shall soothe, and what shall cheer
And shew the dawn of heaven is near,
And light with smiles the path above, —
O ! what, if not a daughter's love ?
Yes ! my loved father ! be it mine,
In faith, in trust, in hope divine.
Blended with fondest earthly care,
Thy pains, thy griefs, thine age to share ;
And never may bright morn arise,
Or milder evening close my eyes,
Or blessing be upon my head,
Unless, though weak, I strive to shed
Such peace upon thy bright decline,
As I should wish to hallow mine —
Such peace upon thy closing hour,
As suits a daughter's humble power.
ON BEING RELIEVED FROM SEVERE
AND LONG-CONTINUED PAIN.
Great God ! I thank thy boundless love
For this much- wished relief;
Teach me to pray ! ' Lord ! I believe,
Strengthen my unbelief.'
Teach me to bow beneath thy hand !
As did thy own dear Son !
Teach me to say, and feel, with him,
6 Thy will, not mine, be done.'
What is life, that we should sigh
To quit this weary breath,
And on the quiet bed to lie,
Which is called death ?
Ambition does not enter there,
And interest toils no more ;
The feeble lips breathe only prayer —
The strife is o'er.
Youth's anxious race is run,
And manhood's cares are past,
And age the meed has won
Of rest at last.
No broken hope is here,
No fortune's troubled wave ;
No bitter worldly tear
Bedews the grave.
The day no longer glares
On the dim and aged eye ;
The heart forgets its cares,
When fixed on high.
There's poverty around,
But the dying has no fear ;
There's thunder — but no sound
Disturbs his ear.
No ! he who goes to God
Has not a thought to spare ;
His soul is on the road,
His thoughts are prayer.
36 THE SACRED
And one, them all above,
Gives comfort to his breast —
It is that God is love ;
This is his rest.
Home of my happiest years,
Where my young feet delighted strayed
Among life's loveliest flowers ;
And, all unknown to fears,
Hope's brightening halo round me played,
And led the light- winged hours.
In the sad waste of days
Which I am doomed to track
Across a path of care,
Fond memory still delays,
And casts a long look back
On scenes so sweet and fair.
O they were dear — the dark green groves,
The flowers, the garden's sunny pride,
All nature in her blushing smile ;
And dear their earliest, happiest loves,
Which first awoke affection's tide,
Nor time nor parting feared the while.
But we are scattered — to the world,
On its unquiet ocean cast,
From our sweet home of rest ;
And, by the sudden tempest hurled,
We struggle with the blast ;
Yet by a saviour-star may still be blest.
Its light is on us — calm in Heaven,
Serenely bright, its hallowing ray
Shall guide us to repose ;
Eternal hope, in mercy given,
To beam on our benighted way,
And lull our mortal woes.
Sweet home, adieu ! the sighing wind
Makes lonely music through thy hall —
None hear its melody.
Yet still I cast a look behind,
And give a parting tear to all
That was so dear to me.
38 THE SACRED
never shall my soul the thoughts forego,
Of high and pure intent, that lead me on
To virtue's heights, and the immortal crown,
Wreathed of the flowers that in heaven's garden grow
What though 1 tread a path of tears and woe,
Nor mortal joy attendant on my way,
The light of hope shall 'mid the darkness play,
And purer pleasures teach my heart to glow.
1 long to join the blissful band on high,
The spirits of the just, who overcame
The bonds of sin, and whose undying fame
Shall guide me to their glorious destiny.
Then shrink not, O my soul ! but undismayed,
Seek for the crown of life which will not fade.
O thou whose brow, serene and calm,
From earthly stain is free,
View not with scorn that lost one's fate,
— She once was pure like thee.
Though in thy lovely form and face
Health's rosy glow we see,
Yet shrink not from that faded form
— She once was fair like thee !
Thou in thy father's home may dwell,
In peace and purity ;
Yet pity her, though friendless now,
— She once was blest like thee.
Perchance the smiles of love are thine,
Its joyful ecstasy;
Then weep for that forsaken one,
— She once was loved like thee.
And still, 'mid shame, and guilt, and woe,
One Being loves her still !
40 THE SACRED
Who makes thee blest, and pours on her
The world's extremest ill.
He knows the secret lure that led
Her youthful steps astray ;
He knows that thou, in all thy pride,
Might fall from Him away ;
Then, with the love of him who said,
' Depart, and sin no more,'
Shield from despair that wretched one,
And bid her pangs be o'er.
TO A DAUGHTER, ON THE DAY OF HER
The bird that in the parent breast
Hath sheltered many a day,
Will leave at last the downy nest,
To wing its joyful way.
Thou, like the bird, my daughter dear,
Hast bade thy home adieu,
Whilst cares, that ask a larger sphere,
Are open in g on thy view.
This arm hath been thy constant shield,
My counsels always thine ;
To him thou gavest thy heart I yield
What duties erst were mine.
If parents' love and sister's prayers
Can aught with heaven avail,
No darkling ills, no bitter cares,
Will e'er thy peace assail.
And now thou bear'st from kindred hearts
The wishes, deep and pure,
That every blessing life imparts
With thee may still endure.
With joy thy onward course pursue,
For love is by thy side ;
He that to thee hath been so true,
Is now thy guard and guide.
42 THE SACKED
C I felt that, however long to me
The slumber of the grave might be,
I should know him again, 'mid the countless throng
Who shall bear their part in the Seraphim's song.'
Miss L. E. Landon.
How shall we know them — the holy dead,
Whom we left alone in their narrow bed ?
What if remembrance have power to trace
Minutest lines of each buried face ;
What if the form we so fondly love,
With us in dreams of affection move ?
We had looked our last on a marble brow,
We brook not to think it altered now ;
But great and total the change must be
Ere it put off the garb of mortality.
How shall we know him — the one who died
Like a shock of corn in autumn pride ;
Her, whom we know by her pallid cheek,
By sickness blighted, by grief made weak ?
Not by the gleam of their silver hair,
Not by the traces of time and care;
But by the feelings, more deeply shrined,
The feelings that dwell in the changeless mind;
By a child-like love — the love we felt
In earthly homes, where our parents dwelt.
How shall we know them ? who passed away
In all the freshness of early day ;
Those whom we cherished hi later years,
From whom we parted with bitter tears ?
Not by the beauty which marked them then ;
O were it such it must fade again :
But by a gladness which round them plays
Like a joy revived from our olden days ;
By the holy joys our spirits knew,
Which a better world shall again renew.
How shall we know them, — the infant race ;
How will the mother her loved one trace ?
Not by the glance of his sunny eye,
'T was but a gleam o'er mortality ;
Not by his look when he sunk to rest,
A closing flower on her throbbing breast ;
But by a feeling like that which burned,
When her heart o'er the guileless stranger,
By a thrill like that, which, when first he smiled,
Came o'er her soul, will she know her child.
ECCLESIASTES I. 7.
1 All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is not full.'
The rivers of earth, from a thousand springs,
Flow on to their ocean home ;
And their cool, fresh water its sweetness brings,
To mix with the salt sea foam.
Onward forever their courses they keep,
But fill not the caves of the soundless deep.
And such are the depths of the human soul, —
That vast unfathomed sea ;
Unnumbered streams of enjoyment roll,
To meet its infinity.
But a void in the heart lieth lonely still,
Which no earthly fountain can ever fill.
There are feelings fraught with a soft delight
From the joyous world around ;
They bring to our senses the gleam of its light
And the murmur of its sound.
Through the secret windings of thought they sweep,
Their unceasing current ; is still, but deep.'
There are streams on whose bosom the breeze has
Rich with the incense of morn ; [strayed,
They have caught the breath of flowers, as they
Through valleys of waving corn ;
They have borne the music of bird and bee, —
But what are all these, to the deep, deep sea ?
There are high emotions, that stir the mind
With a wild, delirious thrill,
As if awe and gladness their might combined,
One stream of enjoyment to fill ; •
That the strong excitement its current bore,
Fulness of bliss on the soul might pour.
It is but as storm-swollen torrents sink,
When they reach the boundless shore ;
'T is the cataract's rush to the ocean's brink —
Its grandeur is felt no more :
Rapid its course is, and great is its fall,
But the deep where it goeth is greater than all.
With sources of knowledge, rich, deep, and fair,
All nature doth overflow ;
But this single truth on their breast they bear,
" How little is all ye know ! "
And their gurgling flow has a hollow sound,
On the verge of that ocean which hath no bound.
46 THE SACRED
There yet is a river, whose silver light
Seems caught from the smile of heaven ;
Those kindly affections, so hallowed and bright,
Which even to earth are given :
It visits the lowly and barren spot —
Where is there a heart which it entereth not ?
But though sweet as a spring 'midst a desert's sand,
Pure as the evening dew,
And blest as the stream which the prophet's hand
From the rock of Horeb drew ;
Yet small is its compass, and weak its might,
When it merges in that which is infinite.
O who can scan the immortal soul,
Or the bound of its powers can see ?
We can mete the ocean, from pole to pole,
What its length and breadth must be ;
But its depth still lieth unknown — unseen —
There line and plummet have never been.
But while fountain, or river, or torrent fails
To fill the insatiate main,
O'er the world of waters a power prevails,
That leads it, as with a chain ;
It passes silently over the sea,
And the surges arise in their majesty.
That power may descend upon wings of light,
From that sun which enlivens all ;
Or at the still hour of lonely night,
In the track of the moon beams fall ;
But the wave that swelleth the whelming tide,
From the deep's own fountains must be supplied.
x\nd though, 'midst the fulness of mortal things,
With the restless heart must be
That yearning for greater good which clings
To its immortality,
There is, in its own unmeasured recess,
A source for the spring tide of happiness.
Our life may seem useless, and unenjoyed,
And pass like a dreamy sleep.
When the earth was as yet without form and void,
And darkness spread over the deep,
The Spirit of God on the waters passed,
And the light of his presence around was cast.
And if through the spirit's unfathomed ways
There roll not the torrent of sin,
He whose eye, through the darkness without, surveys
The gleam of the world within,
Will breathe o'er the silence the breath of his might,
And say to its nothingness, ' Let there be light.'
48 THE SACRED
THE SPIRIT OF MAN.
What is this principle we call the mind,
This element of immortality,
Unknown, inscrutable, and yet enshrined
In every form of frail humanity ?
What is it, that its privilege should be
The image of th' Eternal One to bear ;
To make for him a shrine, that he might see
His own high attributes reflected there,
E'en as the lowliest flower the tinge of light doth wear.
Ethereal, spiritual, bright, sublime,
Finite, yet tending to infinity ;
Though time-worn, fitted to outlast all time,
Though lowly, gifted with the power to be
Progressing to a nobler destiny ;
Though evil, ever with some good innate,
Latent, amidst the evil still, since He
Who formed it is beneficent as great,
Nor for unmingled ill one being would create.
The spirit, unto which the things that are
Of this world are but shadows, and their good
But as a gem unto the shining star,
Which dimly seen in its vast altitude
Seems but a spark ; — this spirit may elude
The sense that would its nature comprehend ;
By its own elevation may delude
The gaze, that to its splendors would ascend,
And trace it through that course which shall not have
Man, who is to himself a mystery,
Amidst Creation's wondrous works goes forth,
Looks to the distant stars, and longs to be
Familiar with their glories ; of the worth
Of things around he thinks not : yet this earth
Is filled with beings, each, with the rich store
Of energies to which it giveth birth,
Itself a world ; these let him number o'er,
And find how much remains for science to explore.
Man on this fertile world may look, and know
To him her treasures and her fruits are lent ;
For him her mountains rise, her rivers flow,
For him her oceans spread their vast extent ;
Each hath its part, all tending to augment
His happiness, as to their common goal,
Fulfilling each the mission all were sent
To minister of gladness to that soul,
Which animates, and warms, and dignifies the whole.
50 THE SACRED
The freshness and the loveliness that dwell
On the cool mountain, in the woody glade,
The cheerful sounds that echo thro' the glen,
The blended influence of light and shade,
The voice of winds and waters, — all are made
For man, his heart the shrine that sanctifies
All nature's gifts, most holy, when they aid,
His happiness, whose songs of joy arise
Like incense ever pure ascending to the skies.
All these must change ; — the lowly flowers must die,
Beside the pathway which their tints make bright ;
The forest's leaves like worthless things must lie
On the brown, withered turf; — the towering height
Of cloudcapt hills must bow; — the unconquered
Of the proud wave shall fail ; — the waterfall
Shall cease, with its white foam, to sport with light ;
The stars themselves from their high place shall fall,
And o'er the realm of suns shall darkness spread her
'T is something *midst this dying world to feel,
That there is that within this mortal mould
Which cannot die. 'T is good awhile to steal
Away from life's delusions, to behold
The pure, true world of Nature, and to hold
Communion with our hearts in silence there ;
To watch the sun sink, where clouds fringed with
A promise of his glorious rising wear,
And theu our life's duration unto his compare —
Our own immortal life. It would be bliss
To feel ourselves the beings that we are,
But for the thought of what the spirit is,
And what it might be. We ourselves debar
From knowledge, lest we find how severed far
The purpose of our life by God assigned,
And that we make its purpose. First we mar
The powers for better, nobler ends designed,
Then fear to mete the span of a perverted mind.
'T is beautiful to think what mind may be,
Pure, bright, exalted ; but a little placed
Below the angels is humanity.
'Tis fearful to look round and see the waste
Of human intellect, — the dark lines traced,
Where every mark of mind the withering breath
Of ignorance hath from the brow erased ;
The apathy that shows a moral death,
The worse than death, that lurks an eye of fire beneath.
A holy thing is life in him, whose mind
Dwelleth with God, amidst his works profound,
As if within his sacred presence shrined,
1 Unspotted by the world,' yet ever found
52 THE SACRED
With the concerns of earth that press around,
Mingling for good. All nature is to him
Instinct with God ; he deems its every sound
An echo of the everlasting hymn,
Its light a gleam of that, which never shall be dim.
What would it seem would we but stoop to track
A spirit through its dark and dread career ;
To mark the gleam of feeling, and the rack
Of passion, or the tempest-strife of fear ;
To see its better nature re-appear
By fitful starts. Then, too severely tried,
Encompassed within a narrow sphere
By evil influence, on every side, [defied.
Yield to that power which seems too strong to be
Life hath its contrasts — its realities
Which make humanity itself aghast.
Death hath its contrasts. In its present lies
Revealed the irrevocable past,
That soothes, or haunts the spirit to the last.
Imagination paints the perfect peace
Around the last hours of the righteous cast,
How love grows strong, and faith and hope increase
Their power within the heart, till its faint throbbings
Then thought reverts, and mingles in the strife
Of human hearts, waiting the doom accurst, —
Death by a human hand : in them all life
Concentrates in the thought of death, the worst
Of deaths. The scene minutely is rehearsed
A thousand times ; — its infamy, its pain,
Each step of that foul process, from the first,
When the yet living body joins the train,
Till, as a hideous mass, it is brought back again.
These all are men. And are all men the same
In their souls' inwrought capabilities, —
In the pure guilelessness in which they came
From their Creator's hands, — in all the ties
Which form the chain of human sympathies, —
All living for the same eternity ?
O God ! and do we sport with vanities,
While each inheritor of life might be
Made worthy to fulfil its highest destiny ?
Too well content to keep one beaten path,
And toil, or trifle through our little day,
We heed not what the world beyond us hath
Of scenes, that it were madness to display
6 If ignorance be bliss ; ' therefore we say,
Who hath appointed unto us the task
To scan the spirit 'neath the shroud of clay ?
Far better that it still should wear its mask ;
We know not of its ill, why should we wish to ask ?
54 THE SACRED
Yet there are moments when the fettered soul
Rises above the dreams of sophistry ;
Taketh its place beyond its weak control,
And looks on earth as with a spirit's eye ;
Pavilioned by the silence of the sky,
And girt with light to make its vision true,
Man stands unveiled before its scrutiny ;
It sees the germ from which his passions grew ;
The future seems to pass beneath its piercing view.
It marks the thousands passing to and fro,
Unceasingly, upon earth's tranquil breast.
Whence do they come, and whither do they go ?
Is that a subject worthy of no quest?
'T is answered, — for on every brow impressed
In living characters, which all may read,
Is something of life's history expressed,
The vestige of the thoughts which prompt the deed,
Which leave their traces there, as slowly they recede.
The happy tillers of a grateful soil,
In hope who scatter, who in gladness reap,
Have the free bearing earned by manly toil,
The spirit of the woods they round them keep ;
Bright are their eyes, who sleep the happy sleep
Of innocence, and waken in its glow.
Art has her treasures and her secrets deep,
And all her votaries, her worth who know,
Have something of the pride of science on their brow.
In the thronged city — one with tranquil mien
Speeds to the circle round the lighted hearth ;
Another glides to mingle in the scene,
Where feasts and music meet to waken mirth,
And kindle wild emotions into birth ;
Some seek retirement, lone as convent cell,
To bend o'er ancient lore, of dubious worth.
If with each differing spirit all were well,
How gladly would the mind upon the picture dwell.
But there is yet behind a drearier scene ;
The peopled haunts another aspect wear ;
Midst wealth and splendor wasted forms are seen,
Victims of ceaseless toil, and want, and care ;
And there the sterner nature that will dare
To live, though life be bought with infamy ;
There guilt's bold emissaries spread their snare,
Who law, or human or divine, defy,
And live but to perpetuate crime and misery.
Are these the offspring of the living God !
Children of earth, yet training for the skies,
Creatures for whom Emanuel hath trod
The vale of death, and borne its agonies !
When in these evil ones we recognize
Spirits endowed like those, whose living light
Makes human nature precious in our eyes,
Comparison develops to our sight [might.
Truths, it were well to feel in all their power and
56 THES ACRED
It needeth no prophetic eye to see
How many yet must the same ruin share ;
Infants, now cradled on a mother's knee,
Whose simple comforts loving hands prepare ;
Children, who seldom know a parent's care,
In whom the woes of elder years are seen ;
Whose earliest steps must be upon a snare,
Unless some watchful stranger intervene,
And stand those frail young things and the dark gulf
Have ye not heard all this, ye sons of men,
Or hearing have ye deemed it untrue ?
Then from your happy homes look forth again.
Alas ! such beings pass before your view
In every walk of life, or old or new.
Ye meet them in the crowded thoroughfare,
And in the woodland paths your boyhood knew.
Ye cannot kneel within the house of prayer,
But the pale child of want will be beside you there.
The worldling doth an ample storehouse plan,
' To lay up many goods ; ' now, as of old ;
And thus he speaketh to his fellow man :
i Have I not hungered, thirsted, toiled for gold,
Through weary nights and days ? Have I not doled
Out, in the bitter bread of charity,
A portion of my treasure ? Now, behold !
My hands are pure : many the slaves may be
Of ignorance, or guilt, — but what is that to me ? '
While pleasure whispers : * Time is thine to spend
E'en as thou listest, — take thy little all,
This life and its enjoyments soon must end ;
Then crown thyself with roses ere they fall.'
How many listen to the syren call !
Philanthropy a dull, tame jest they deem
To their pursuits, full quickly though they pall;
But as the very dross of earth may seem
Those lost and lowly ones, unto their fever dream.
And gentle woman — she has passed them by,
To pluck the wild flowers ere their buds unfold,
To bathe her spirit in the mystery
Of high-wrought legends, and romances old ;
Her place midst Fashion's priestesses to hold ;
If Time to her bis footsteps seem to stay,
And some new joy she languish to behold,
Little she knows what thrilling interests may
Be found with them from whom in scorn she turns
Thus speaks the broken hearted : ' I have shed
Vain tears for the unfaithful ; now I prove
58 THE SACRED
The bitterness of waitings for the dead.
No more can earthly joy rny spirit move ;
Now is my prayer to Him who rules above,
To bear without complaint His sovereign will.
Tell me not there are beings yet, whose love
The restless yearnings of my soul can still ; [fill.'
Oh ! they are not my own, that they the void should
' Am I my brother's keeper ? ' he did ask,
Who first a brother smote. He did essay
Before the all-seeing One his brow to mask
In ignorance. And in this latter day,
When thousands sink to worse than death, a prey
To want, or to neglect a sacrifice,
From whose still animate and sentient clay
A living voice goes up unto the skies,
4 Am I my brother's keeper?' man again replies.
And God hath answered — not by flames of fire,-
4 His messengers : ' not as on Sinai,
By voice of thunders which, as though in ire,
Pealed forth the terrors of His majesty,
But by communion with our spirits, — by
The ensamples of his everlasting love
Which are around, — by precepts from on high
In peace and mercy sent, which bid us prove,
By love to man below, our faith in God above.
We cannot think upon the Deity,
On His perfections, on the magnitude
Of His unnumbered mercies ; nor can see
The inanimate creation so imbued
With something of the unimagined good
Which dwells with Him, but w T e must long to find
Each living spirit with that good endued,
That image of Himself, which God designed
To be for ever stamped upon th' immortal mind.
We cannot feel the wild and sweet excess
Of joy within our spirits, but we yearn
To make mankind partake our happiness ;
The range of our own powers we cannot learn,
And feel high impulses within us burn ;
We cannot Truth in her deep beauty see,
And feel our minds exalted, but we turn
A lingering look from our acclivity
To those below, who are less highly blessed than we.
There is a chain unseen, yet strong to bind,
Which links us to our fellows. Desolate
Is he who wears it not. ' If human kind
Have all one human heart,' however fate
Makes men to differ, can we separate
From our own hopes and interests above,
The love of those our Father did create,
Or cease to wish they should themselves approve,
Not subjects of his power, but children of his love ?
60 THE SACRED
These are the thoughts that make us watch and
Over the children of depravity,
And feel it is a glorious work to keep
One falling mind from ruin. Who but He
Who made us, maketh nature's voice to be
So strong within us ? If yet once again
We question our responsibility
For the well being of our fellow men, [then.
And our own hearts reply, — 't is God who answers
But Nature's teachings, gracious and sublime,
Are yet the lowliest it is ours to seek.
God, who at intervals in olden time
Did by the mouth of his great prophets speak,
In these last days, girded with light, did break
Through the thick darkness that had veiled his
Proclaimed glad tidings to the pure and meek,
Made his long-suffering love and mercy known,
And blessed all human kind in his beloved Son.
Christ, who this earth in which we dwell hath trod,
Who the great work of our salvation wrought,
Revealed unto men the unknown God,
And knowledge from the fount of wisdom brought ;
Revealed man unto himself, and taught
Unto his spirit its own dignity.
That knowledge kings and prophets vainly sought
Of the imperishable soul, may be
Found in the blessed words, — Life — Immortality.
'T is thus we honor all men, looking forth
From what they are, to that which they will be,
And viewing each invested with the worth
Conferred by his life's eternity,
The christian venerates humanity,
Looketh with joy unspeakable on those
Whose virtues clothe it with sublimity ;
Yes, loves it 'midst its errors and its woes, [stows.
And on its least concerns his thoughts and care be-
Who, that hath known the spirit, what it is,
The high perfection which it may attain,
Who feels its vast capacity for bliss,
Its fearful capability of pain,
Can look with apathy on man again,
And see how guilt enthrals, alike the weak
Who knows not, feels not, that he wears the chain,
And him who'mourns the yoke he cannot break,
To whose bowed spirit, none of hope and mercy speak?
That God who hath appointed us such joy
The measure of another's bliss to fill,
Will lend us talents worthy the employ,
Will give us power to work His righteous will,
And He will be our guide, our helper still.
62 THE SACRED
Though weak may be our efforts, there is none
Unfit that holiest duty to fulfil,
Though by minutest services alone,
Small as the ceaseless drop that wears away the stone.
However deep may be the shade of sin,
There is in every human mind a way
By which the light of truth may enter in.
What though the spirit seem to shun the ray,
And cling to evil — faith and patience may
The dark suggestions of despair refute.
Night seemeth deepest ere the dawn of day ;
The withered plant may quicken at the root ;
How many sow the seed, who may not see the fruit.
Nature, whose beauty may refine the heart,
Its better feelings rouse, its worse subdue,
Not all unaided can perform her part :
The exhilarating morn, the sky's deep blue,
The quivering moonbeam, and the silent dew,
The fresh green leaves just bursting from their stem,
These are her agencies, and yet the hue [gem,
Thrown o'er, which makes each flower appear a
The sweetness and the light are not alone of them.
What is all beauty, but the spirit's power
To feel and love the beautiful ; to find
Within its own vast depths the mighty dower
Of keen perceptions, and of sense refined ?
What is all music, but the gift of mind
Which yields the melody — Nature can afford
Only the power to call it forth. The wind
Sweeps like a seraph's touch across the chord,
But in itself the tone of music's voice is stored.
Perception of the beautiful, which can
Make paths of pleasantness of all life's ways,
May be the precious gift of man to man.
He who the Universe aright surveys,
And to its good directs another's gaze,
Opens a new creation to his view,
O'er which awakened sense with rapture strays.
The conqueror, who empires doth subdue,
Looks not upon the world with pleasure half so true.
If there be evergreens in summer's wreath,
If there be aught in nature which survives
Time's withering touch and winter's chilly breath,
It is the exalting feeling which she gives
To him, who conscious of her presence lives;
The joy, the freshness, and the purity,
The spirit from her influence receives,
Which, passing rapidly o'er land and sea, [ergy.
Gleans something of her light, her strength, her en- «
64 THE SACRED
Spirit of man ! thou hast a mighty range,
Thought is thy envoy, speeding every where,
With other spirits seeking interchange;
Imagination in her high career
Maketh the universe itself thy sphere :
Reason thou hast, her watchful guard to keep :
Judgment, to pierce the shades of doubt and fear :
Foresight is thine : Memory, that will not sleep :
Affection, with her train of feelings strong and deep.
Thou mantlest in the glow of early life,
Thou shinest from a thousand brilliant eyes,
Thou risest up, and growest strong by strife,
And great, by putting forth thy energies:
Grief, that doth seem to dim thee, purifies:
Truly, thine is a nature to revere.
Too oft a shroud of evil o'er thee lies :
When in thy native worth thou dost appear,
In air, or earth, or ocean thou hast no compeer.
There 's grandeur in the proudly swelling wave,
And in the cataract, dashing loud and free;
In the tall cliff, which booming waters lave ;
And, where the lightning cloud rolls gorgeously,
In mountain realms of vast acclivity :
A 'little one' # lies gazing at their feet, —
*'One of these little ones.' — Matt, xviii. 14.
He has the spirit of sublimity ;
He has the mind their loftiness to greet,
There all their images in one grand focus meet.
Bring beauty from her dwellings of the air,
Where, as on wings of light, fair creatures sweep ;
From her recesses in the ocean, where
Bright coral rocks and glittering pearls lie deep,
And in their tinted homes small fishes sleep :
Bring sweetness from the forest-side, where rove
Pale wilding flowers, where tender mosses creep,
Yet there is beauty still all these above,
The charm of kindly deeds, the gentleness of love.
Snatch riches from the rock of adamant,
Where emeralds and sapphires lie below ;
Call on the dust its crumbling gold to grant ;
Unto the mine, its silver to bestow.
Hard hands are toiling where these shine or glow,
Above their bed a brow of darkness lowers ;
Their worth the very infant learns to know,
And has not he, with all his untried powers
More in the sight of God, — alas, w T hy not in ours?
Can we with bars and doors shut up the seas,
And teach the day-spring how to know his place,
Bind the sweet influence of Pleiades,
Or guide Arcturus through unbounded space ?
66 THES ACRED
Did we spread out the sky like molten glass ?
The way of light and darkness do we know ?
Or is it ours the path of death to trace ?
Can we command the clouds where they shall go,
Or send the winged lightning glancing to and fro ?
We cannot, — but a vantage ground is ours,
Which, all unbounded as the boundless skies,
Increases still with our increasing powers ;
Ours is a land of spirits, wherein lies
A deep with its unfathomed mysteries ;
Fountains of life unsought are welling there,
And gleams are flashing, as the lightning flies,
A thousand burning, shining lights are near,
And myriad sparks, which might as beautiful ap-
If it were glorious to have kindled [throne, —
Lamps, that shall burn before th' Almighty's
Of all the stars that their mild radiance shed,
If it were noble to have guided one,
Unconscious of the brightness round it thrown, —
If it were cause of gladness to have driven
The lightning by a word, from zone to zone,
What is it Truth and Virtue to have given
Unto a spirit, that will pass, ere long, to heaven ?
It is a beautiful and soothing thought,
That when mankind shall meet beyond the tomb,
There may be found some spirits we have taught
To fix their hopes upon that world to come ;
That e'en their final, their decisive doom
May be affected by the care they knew.
O ! it were worth long years of toil and gloom
To see that vision rise from life's review,
Trusting to sleep in Christ, and wake to find it true.
ON THE DEPARTURE OF A FRIEND.
Go ! far from every friend beloved,
And tempt the stormy wave,
And, calm in spirit, gaze unmoved
Upon that watery grave ;
Though winds and rocks thy doom combine,
A Father's arm to save is thine !
In peril's hour thy trust is true,
Unguarded goest thou not ;
Oh ! ever in thy Father's view,
As in that quiet spot,
Where first thy earliest vows were paid.
Within thy home's delightful shade.
The stormy ocean he will still,
And hush the tempest's roar,
And thou thy destined part fulfil,
When all thy fears are o'er ; —
Look up to that benignant power
Who saved thee in that trying hour.
Are storms and waves — the treacherous deep-
Are these our only dread ?
Ah ! dangers far more fearful sleep
Beneath thy flowery tread,
When on the peaceful, smiling shore,
And far beyond the tempest's roar.
Thou fear'st them not — thy gentle heart
Bodes not that fearful doom ;
For pure in hope and faith thou art ;
And yet such doubts will come,
Like shadows o'er affection's dream,
To bid the tears of parents stream.
That fate — that worst, that saddest fate —
Oh ! let it not be thine.
Go forth, with virtuous trust elate,
And eyes that clearly shine,
With holy thoughts and spotless fame ;
Ah ! dim them not with tears of shame !
Return, return, ere yet that blight
Hath chilled thy youthful breast,
And seek the scene of young delight,
Thy former home of rest —
And all the friends of those glad years,
When yet thou knew'st not cares nor tears.
But oh! in every changing scene,
Still seek thy Father's love;
Though years of care may intervene,
Yet place thy trust above ;
Through weal or woe, through good or ill,
A Father's love will guide thee still !
And he will lead the wanderer back
Unto his own blest fold,
As hopes along the desert track
The wanderer's heart uphold ;
Whate'er thy fate, where'er thy lot,
Thy God, thy God, forsake thou not !
70 THE SACRED
ON THE DEATH OF A BEAUTIFUL BOY.
I saw thee at thy Mother's side
When she was marble cold,
And thou wert like some cherub form
Cast in ethereal mould ;
But when the pang of sudden grief
Oppressed thine infant thought,
And mid thy clear and radiant eye
A liquid crystal wrought,
I felt how strong that faith must be
That breaks a mother's tie,
And bids her leave her darling's tears
For other hands to dry.
1 saw thee in thine hour of sport
Beside thy father's bower,
Amid his broad and bright parterre,
Thyself the fairest flower,
And heard thy tuneful voice ring out
Upon the summer air,
As though some bird of Eden poured
Its joyous carol there ;
And lingered with delighted gaze
On happy childhood's charms,
Which once the blest Redeemer loved
And welcomed to his arms.
1 saw thee scan the classic page
With high and glad surprise,
And saw the sun of science beam
As on an eaglet's eyes,
And marked thy strong and brilliant mind
Arouse to bold pursuit,
And from the tree of knowledge pluck
Its richest, rarest fruit.
But still from such precocious power
I shrank with secret fear, —
A shuddering presage that thy race
Must soon be ended here.
I saw thee in the house of God,
And loved the reverent air
With which thy beauteous head was bowed
Low in thy guileless prayer ;
Yet little deemed how soon thy place
Would be with that blest band,
Who ever near the Eternal Throne
In sinless worship stand ;
And little deemed how soon the grave
Must lock thy glorious charms,
And wing thine ardent soul to find
A sainted mother's arms.
72 THE SACRED
THE SPIRIT'S TRUST.
Go ! ask the morning flower
If the dew be cool and sweet ;
Ask the rose in its opening hour
If it loves the sun's bright heat.
Ask the lark as it soars on high
If it joys in the heaven above,
As its note thrills through the sky,
And breathes of spring and love.
The smallest things below
Are blest in life and light ;
But O ! they can never know
The spirit's proud delight.
The joys of the heart and mind
Are deeper and heavenlier things,
More sacred, and more refined
Than the voice with which nature sings.
There's a sound of bliss in the air,
It rings o'er the flowers and vales ;
And the birds their rapture declare,
And their songs fill a thousand gales.
Yet sweeter than dew to the rose,
Or than light and air to the bird,
Is the hope that my heart o'erfiows
As its inmost streams are stirred.
For ever dear and deep,
In its purest shrined recess,
Do divinest feelings sleep.
Of faith and holiness.
And I would not change that heart,
With its fervent and precious trust,
For all this life could impart,
If my thoughts must be chained to dust.
THE PAST AND THE FUTURE.
There is a vision that inspires
The heart with joy, not now its own ;
Thought from the present scene retires,
To revel on the past alone.
I seem to stand upon the spot,
Where I in thoughtless childhood played ;
Feelings revive long deemed forgot,
A light fast streaming through the shade.
The sky, in its ethereal blue,
Looks glowing as in days gone by,
The bright flowers glitter with a dew
Like tears of silent ecstasy.
As steals upon the rushing wind
The JEolian harp's unmeasured strain,
The sounds first dear to the young mind
Blend with its thought of home again.
The slow chime of the distant bell,
The blithe hum of the wandering bee,
The solemn organ's sudden swell,
The voice that gladdened infancy.
Alas ! that ever grief or fear
Should break on such a dream as this,
Or change, or death be hovering near
A being once so fraught with bliss.
There is a wild and fearful trance
That stirs the heart and fires the eye,
When Fancy seeks to throw her glance
Along the veiled futurity.
Dark shadows fall, and false lights glare
On this unreal view of life ;
Love, and its thousand ills, is there ;
Ambition, and its restless strife.
For some, hope paints elysian bowers,
Joys all too perfect to be true,
Unchanging skies, unfading flowers,
Oh ! this is not a world for you.
Or abject fears in deep gloom shroud
Creation's fair and lovely form ;
Is there no heaven above the cloud ?
No voice above the threatening storm ?
76 THE SACRED
Some fix their hopes on wealth or fame,
Things not for mortal worship given,
And make what earth at last will claim,
The centre of their earthly heaven.
And many a heart that early yearns
For some bright gleam of holier ray,
With more than Pagan ardour turns
Its homage to this god of day.
How sweeter far that early dream,
How calm was the untroubled breast,
Whilst pure the unsullied soul might seem,
As one gone early to its rest.
Why then has Fancy vainly tried
Upon life's course to fix her eye,
Where silent sweep, its path to hide,
The waters of obscurity.
So fled the dove from out the ark,
In the wide waste to seek a nest ;
Amidst the billows drear and dark,
She found not where her foot to rest.
But when Faith onward speeds her wings,
When tempests and their ruin cease,
She to the weary spirit brings
The olive of eternal peace.
On mists of doubt and clouds of care
The sun-beam from on high is shed,
A rainbow to Earth's living heir,
A promise for her sleeping dead.
' Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal
life.' — John vi. 68.
When our purest delights are nipt in the blossom,
When those we love best are laid low ;
When grief plants in secret her thorn in the bosom,
Deserted, — ' to whom shall we go ? '
When, with error bewildered, our path becomes
And tears of despondency flow ; [weary,
When the whole head is sick, and the whole heart is
Despairing, — ' to whom shall we go ? '
When the sad thirsty soul turns away from the springs
Of pleasure this world can bestow,
78 THE SACRED
And sighs for another, and flutters its wings,
Impatient, — ' to whom shall it go ? '
Oh blest be that light which has parted the clouds,
And a path to the pilgrim can show,
That pierces the veil which the future enshrouds,
And tells us to whom we shall go !
* What is that to thee? follow thou me.' — John xxi. 22.
And dost thou speak of friendship lost,
Of hopes deceived, of true love crost,
Oh ! Christian, what is that to thee ?
'Tis Jesus whispers, 'Follow me.'
But dost thou tell of sorrow's doom,
Of thoughts that centre in the tomb ?
Ah ! what is that sad scene to thee ?
For Jesus whispers, 'Follow me.'
Does conscience tear thy aching breast,
And rob thy days and nights of rest ?
Still, Christian, all thy pangs shall flee,
When Jesus whispers, 'Follow me.'
Amidst the world's seducing snares,
And mammon's soul-degrading cares,
Still pure thy Christian path shall be,
For Jesus whispers, ' Follow me.'
And in the closing scene of life,
'Mid all the spirit's anxious strife,
Christian! those words shall comfort thee,
And Jesus whisper, i Follow me.'
A DYING SCENE.
Her spirit sought that better world,
Where pain shall be no more ;
Departing, as the hushed winds sink,
When the tempest strife is o'er.
Before her calm and chastened mind
All worldly ills had past,
As winds across the chord that yields
Its music to their blast.
Her life had been a tranquil day
Of duty meekly done ;
80 THE SACRED
Well might she watch, without dismay,
Its early setting sun.
No light was in those rayless eyes,
Which closed on that last scene ;
Not as in weariness, or hate
Of that which life had been.
But there was that within her soul
A bright, ethereal spark,
Which by its clear effulgence made
All outward light seem dark.
But ere the silver chord was loosed,
The golden bowl was broke,
Some gentle words of peace and love
The dying Christian spoke.
'I see that holy land, wherein
My heritage will be,
My life's long dream of faith is lost
In blest reality.
And yet my heart still longs to hold
Sweet intercourse with those,
For whom the love, through life so strong,
Grows stronger at its close.
Fain would I hear, yet once again,
The voice that cheered my youth,
Speak to my spirit, ere it pass,
The promises of truth.
Tell me of that bright world, where God
Shall wipe away all tears,
That world, where we shall meet again, —
How glorious it appears ! '
Beloved ones were near, that last,
Sweet duty to fulfil —
Her voice a moment joined in praise,
Then ceased — and all was still.
Thou voice divine ! that, silent still
To mortal sense, the soul dost fill
With thoughts of more than mortal power,
As steals along the twilight hour ;
Grant me to hear thy accents sweet,
In every odoured breeze I meet ;
82 THE SACRED
And let no sound of earth intrude
On this heaven-breathing solitude.
'T is not alone to glad the eye,
Those radiant clouds adorn the sky;
Undying soul ! they paint to thee
The glories of eternity ;
They warn thee not to rest upon
Aught fair as they, — as quickly gone :
They bid thy boundless vision soar
Where morn and eve exchange no more.
'T is joy to think that hours like this
Are gleams, though faint, of future bliss.
For who can deem that powers so high
Were granted to delude, then die?
Oh ! who can doubt that mortal man
Has part in that immortal plan,
So long from human search concealed,
So brightly, now, by Christ revealed?
What is devotion ? 'T is to live
To Him who only life can give :
'T is in a joyful hope to die
Of brighter life beyond the sky.
What is devotion? 'Tis to spring
From earth to heaven with eagle-wing,
With thoughts that mock the eagle's flight,
And gaze at uncreated light.
What is devotion ? 'T is to be
Absorbed in God's immensity ;
As rain-drops to the ocean tend,
And with its boundless waters blend.
What is devotion ? 'T is to love
The giver of all bliss above,
And all below ; — 't is gratitude,
Intense, yet trembling, and subdued.
'T is at a Father's feet to fall,
And for his willing mercy call ;
To know that penitential tears,
May smooth his frowns, and chase our fears.
'T is to resign to him who gave,
Each life our own would gladly save ;
To feel heart-broken, yet to say,
Blessed be he who takes away !
And is devotion more than this ?
Its source more deep, more pure its bliss ?
'T is when the Father for the Son
We praise, and feel our heaven begun.
c And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.'
Book of Genesis.
O'er earth was darkness spread,
One boundless night.
< Let there be light ! ' God said —
And there was light.
There hung a deeper gloom
O'er quick and dead ; —
But Jesus burst the tomb,
And darkness fled.
God, by his word, arrayed
Darkness with light :
God, by his Son, displayed
Day without night.
For thee, O man! arose
Creation's ray :
For thee, too, brighter glows
The beams first poured on earth
For mortals shone:
The light of later birth
Then give to life's few hours
Their humble claim:
But — to thy nobler powers,
A boundless aim!
86 THE SACRED
If ho giveth quiet, who can make trouble? — Job xxxiv. 29.
Quiet from God ! It cometh not to still
The vast and high aspirings of the soul ;
The deep emotions which the spirit fill,
And speed its purpose onward to the goal ;
It dims not youth's bright eye,
Bends not joys lofty brow,
No guiltless ecstasy
Need in its presence bow.
It comes not in a sullen form, to place
Life's greatest good in an inglorious rest ;
Through a dull, beaten track its way to trace,
And to lethargic slumber lull the breast :
Action may be its sphere,
Mountain paths — boundless fields,
O'er billows its career:
This is the power it yields.
To sojourn in the world, and yet apart;
To dwell with God, yet still with man to feel ;
To bear about forever in the heart
The gladness which His Spirit doth reveal ;
Not to deem evil gone
From every earthly scene ;
To see the storm come on,
But feel his shield between.
It giveth not a strength to human kind,
To leave all suffering powerless at its feet,
But keeps within the temple of the mind
A golden altar, and a mercy seat,
A spiritual ark,
Bearing the peace of God
Above the waters dark,
And o'er the desert's sod.
How beautiful within our soul's to keep
This treasure, th' All-merciful hath given ;
To feel, when we awake, and when we sleep,
Its incense round us, like a breeze from heaven !
Quiet at hearth and home,
Where the heart's joys begin ;
Quiet where'er we roam,
Quiet around, within.
Who shall make trouble ? — Not the evil minds
Which like a shadow o'er creation lower,
The spirit peace hath so attuned finds
There feelings that may own the Calmer's power,
88 THE SACRED
What may she not confer,
E'en where she must condemn ?
They take not peace from her,
She may speak peace to them.
What shall make trouble ? — Not an adverse fate,
Not chilly poverty, nor worldly care :
They who are tending to a better state
Want but that peace to make them feel they are.
Care o'er life's little day
The tempest-cloud may roll ;
Peace o'er its eve will play,
The moonlight of the soul.
Who shall make trouble ? — Not the holy thought
Of the departed — that will be a part
Of those undying things which peace hath wrought
Into a world of beauty in the heart :
Not the forms passed away,
Which time's strong current bore,
The dark stream might not stay,
The ocean will restore.
Who shall make trouble ? — Not slow- wasting pain,
Not th' impending, certain stroke of death ;
These do but wear away, then snap the chain
Which bound the spirit down to things beneath.
The quiet of the grave
No trouble can destroy ;
He, who is strong to save,
Shall break it — but with joy.
What throne may bear the eternal God,
Who fills unbounded space ?
What palace boast his bright abode, —
What world his dwelling-place ?
Ye stars, that gem yon glorious vault,
Above, beneath, around !
Who most your Maker's praise exalt,
Through nature's unknown bound ; —
Ye sons of light, your God's first-born !
Who saw, from distant spheres,
The dawn of this earth's natal morn,
. And all its future years ; —
Ask ye where dwells the eternal God ?
What planets bear his feet ?
90 THE SACRED
What clustered suns are his abode,
His burning, dazzling seat ?
There is a throne your God will grace —
The pure and lowly heart :
There will he choose his dwelling-place,
And never thence depart.
There is a pure and deep enjoyment given
To man, in nature's perfect loveliness ;
A feeling which is less of earth than heaven,
Unlike earth's joys, greatest in its excess.
How mildly grand ! how chastely beautiful
Is the rich, fruitful earth, the calm, blue sky,
And the vast space, with music tones as full,
As if the air itself were melody !
The landscape, 'neath the smile of morning laid,
Now lost in shade, now breaking into light,
All animate by happy voices made,
Or slowly, softly sinking into night.
These have I watched thro' the long summer day,
With bliss so exquisite, and so intense,
That I have asked — Must these things pass away
With all the false and fleeting joys of sense ?
Have they not deeper meaning — do not we
Types of creation see, to us unknown,
A shadow of the things that are to be,
Amidst this element of systems thrown ?
Have these our pleasures their assigned part,
To be as gracious teachings understood,
Fitted to form and cherish in the heart
A strong, deep relish for some greater good ?
Is nature as a mirror, which the mind
A faint reflector of itself may deem ?
As the moon's placid image is enshrined
In the calm bosom of some lowly stream.
Yet let the soul seek no similitude
With earth's abortive fruits and faded flowers ;
Never be her creator's works imbued,
But with the spirit of her noblest powers ;
As this our world, with all the ills that mar,
The shocks that rend it, and the storms that blight,
Seems to the universe as a pure star,
And on its darkness shines, itself all light.
92 THE SACRED
I had a dream — a beautiful, calm dream —
That which I saw therein was clear as light ;
All things were changed, and looked not as they seem
To the imperfect gaze of mortal sight.
The world, the visible, material world,
Lay in eclipse, a cloud was o'er the sky ;
Before the realm of thought the veil was furled,
Mind stood revealed unto my spirit's eye.
It was a strong and deep development,
A combination of unuttered things,
Communion with man's better nature lent,
A glance, caught of the fount where virtue springs.
It was but as a vision — and it passed,
Briefly and softly as a meteor-ray :
Yet will its chastened memory be the last
That with retreating life will fade away.
And this was moral beauty. I awoke,
The beaten track of life to journey on ;
But yet I felt not that the spell was broke :
Something of darkness from the world was gone.
A light was in my soul. It made me not
Spurn the familiar earth, the common air,
Or shriuk in pride and coldness from the lot,
Which, with small difference, all alike must share.
No — for I saw them in a better view,
With keen perception, and a warmer love,
High in the elevation which they drew
From their connexion with the world above.
I sought no voice to make that vision known,
No aid it needed from description's powers,
I felt it had a language all its own,
Sweeter than eloquence of eastern flowers.
When I beheld how bright the sun arose,
Alike upon the green tree and the dry,
The moon beamed o'er rich vales and mountain snows,
I knew that dream and its analogy.
There is displayed upon this emerald earth
Enough of sweetness to make glad our eyes ;
Yet nature has her store of secret worth,
To shew how deep the realm of beauty lies.
Has she no rivers, in whose rugged bed
Is golden dust, would purchase diadems ;
Or rocky mountains, on which herds are fed,
That sleep o'er silver, trample upon gems ?
Has she not hidden caves with crystal hung,
Splendid as eastern palaces of old ;
O'er which the sun its radiance hath flung,
And bathed their vaulted roofs in liquid gold ?
Has she not ocean, with its fields of pearl,
Its coral rocks, its tracery of weeds,
And myriad shells, o'er which the blue waves curl,
Which all art's boasted workmanship exceeds?
Flowers have their meed of admiration won ;
In them each color born of light is seen ;
But these have hues reflected from the sun,
Though dark and stormy billows spread between.
I marvel not the sons of earth should call
Gems from the deep to ornament a throne ;
For there are riches in the sea-king's hall,
Which monarchs may be proud to make their own.
But when 1 saw, beneath a doubtful sky,
Some bold adventurer plunge into the wave,
(Perhaps uncertain to succeed or die,)
To snatch these trifles from their glittering grave,
Then woke my memory's vision. Do we know
What treasures in the wastes of mind there are,
Which, gathered from then living tomb, might glow
In an immortal crown, each as a star ?
When shall we mark, with such an eager eye,
The one bright spot in the benighted soul,
The pearl of peerless value, though it lie
Embosomed, where the deep, dark waters roll ?
' Though our outward man perish, yet our inward man is renewed
day by day.' — 2 Cor. iv. 16.
The inward man — growth of superior worth
Than aught which owes its being to the earth,
Seed of high origin — designed to be
The living gem of immortality.
Though this material frame of mortal clay
Must fade and waste, and yield to sure decay,
That will not die ; — reared for a better clime,
How doth it flourish 'mid the snares of time :
The Heavenly Planter, wise to understand
Its culture, trains it with a secret hand :
Oft sown in tears beneath affliction's shade,
Defection, pain, and grief severe, are made
Its foster-parents in this alien soil,
Where weeds and thorns demand a watchful toil :
Celestial dews its drooping weakness aid,
And beams from heaven refreshing influence shed.
It grows amid disease's fearful strife ;
Nor shall death's victory reach that germ of life :
Amid the world's vast wreck, in darkness deep,
Its powerful Guardian faithful watch will keep.
Till He — the ' first fruits ' — life's great Lord appear ;
And man's unnumbered generations hear
His mighty voice, on that triumphant day,
When vanquished death shall yield up all his sway.
Then when the grave's dark vaults are all unsealed,
How beautiful in strength will rise revealed
That plant of seed celestial — fair and bright,
To bloom forever in the realms of light !
MATTHEW XXX. 34, &c.
Come, blessed of my heavenly Father, come !
In the high heavens your kingdom is prepared ;
Yours is the sceptre and the rich reward ;
Haste, for your Saviour calls you to your home.
For I was hungry, and ye brought me bread ;
I thirsted, and your cooling draughts were mine ;
O'er my cold limbs the needed vest ye spread ;
A stranger was I, and ye took me in ;
I pined in sickness, and ye brought relief;
In the deep dungeon, and ye soothed my grief:
For these, my brethren, these, the lowly poor,
Ye sent not cold and empty from your door,
But ye relieved then wants, and heard their plea ;
'T was done for my sake, and 'twas done to me.
c O Father, let this cup pass from me ; nevertheless, not as I will,
bat as thou wilt.'
He, at whose bidding winds and waves were still,
Whose voice disease and death itself obeyed,
Who spake as never man was heard to speak,
He lowly bowed to earth his sacred head,
A suppliant at his mighty Father's throne ;
What did he ask, — that fervent pleader there ?
The well-beloved of God — the holy one, —
What was the language of his earnest prayer ?
'O Father, if this cup may not depart
Except I drink it, let thy will be done.'
He prayed — in prospect of that coming hour,
In which the power of death was overthrown.
O wondrous strength of pure benevolence !
The Just, for sinners thus to die resigned :
O height and depth of love unsearchable !
To drink that cup of suffering for mankind.
Ye great ones of the earth ! oh, not in vain
To you may this divine example speak ;
For thence he taught that those should serve mankind
Who, in his kingdom, for distinction seek.
Child of affliction, tried with many woes,
Faint, fearful pilgrim — look to heaven, where He
Who, much enduring, hath dominion won,
A lasting mansion will prepare for thee.
Thou son of genius, whose quick, ardent eye,
The vast, the lofty can attract alone :
O come and bend in admiration here :
Say, of all glorious things to thee made known,
What hast thou witnessed of sublimity,
Like this great triumph of surpasing love ?
What hast thou found of such resistless power,
The heart to influence, or the soul to move ?
THE CONSUMPTIVE GIRL.
Tell me no more my altered cheek is pale,
My fluttering pulse, oh ! Margaret, touch it not ;
But let me breathe once more the vernal gale.
And be thy dark, thy boding fears forgot.
Oh ! lead me to my own beloved bower ;
My steps are feeble, but my heart is light ;
100 THE SACRED
And let me gaze upon each opening flower,
While the glad sun is shining clear and bright.
And let me hear again the murmuring breeze ;
And let me listen to the wild bird's song ;
There is no music, Margaret, sweet as these,
To those who know they may not hear them long.
Another jocund spring shall smile on thee,
And o'er thy head her odorous blossoms wave ;
But, Margaret, where will then thy sister be ?
In the dark chambers of the silent grave.
Yet think not that I murmur at the part
By a just Heaven so portioned out to me ;
'T is but the yearning of this foolish heart
That dwells too fondly with its home and thee.
I feel, I know that my Redeemer lives
In realms of happiness, though far away ;
His hand the guerdon of salvation gives,
His smile, the promise of eternal day.
I hear of regions where the holy dwell,
Where the pure spirits of the saints will be,
Where bliss, beyond what human tongue can tell,
Lives through the ages of eternity.
There, where a stream with silver tide makes glad
That city of the Lord whose gates are praise,
No eye is weary, and no heart is sad,
But harps are tuned to seraphs' rapturous lays.
Is not -that city paved with purest gold,
All brightly shining in eternal day ?
But will those everlasting gates unfold
To the poor pilgrim from her home of clay ?
For I have loved my home of clay too well,
And looked too fondly on my mother earth ;
My tongue will faulter when I say farewell,
My heart will linger at my father's hearth.
The summer comes, and all will then be gay,
And gladness smile upon the flowery plain ;
The summer comes, but I shall pass away,
Like a spring blossom, ne'er to bloom again.
And when cold winter wreaths his hoary brow
With the last chaplet of the fading year,
My own kind xMargaret ! then I know that thou
Wilt think of thy poor sister, once so dear.
Yes ! think, and fear not ; though my voice may know
No tone of triumph in its last farewell ;
Think of the Saviour in this world below,
And the blest tidings which he came to tell.
102 THE SACRED
Speak in soft whispers! Evening falls ! —
Her spirit in its silence calls
To peace, and hope, and holy thought,
And gives the rest the mourner sought !
Tread lightly on the dewy ground !
A balm is falling all around,
Shedding on earth its cooling shower,
And on the heart its healing power.
Gather the loved around ! and now
Breathe the fond word, the tender vow,
For Love throws, like the sweetest flowers,
Its fragrance o'er the Evening hours !
Pure be each thought ! for Angels' eyes
Are beaming from the moonlit skies ;
Soft be each sigh of earthly love —
'T is echoed in the realms above !
THE CHILD AT PRAYER.
To his soft-rounded arms a chair
Support and firmness lent —
His little hands were joined in prayer,
His head devoutly bent.
And o'er that fair and kneeling child
A form enamoured hung,
Prompting the words in accents mild
That graced his artless tongue.
From her soft eye the pearly tear
Of love and rapture stole,
And proved the piety sincere
That rapt her inmost soul !
Told more than language could, as she
His holy paths had trod ;
Her latent warm desire that he,
Her child, might walk with God !
I've seen the drops of grief distain
That fair one's snowy vest,
104 THE SACRED
As she has clasped, a prey to pain,
That infant to her breast ;
And marked the flush of joy and pride
Her lineaments illume,
As he has sported by her side
In health and beauty's bloom !
But never did the Mother's care
In lovelier guise appear,
Than when her Babe's first hallowed prayer
Drew forth that crystal tear.
ACTS XII. 6 — 12.
In chains and darkness Peter slept,
Round him the weary soldiers lay,
Alight across the prison swept,
A brightness brighter than the day.
An Angel stood — and Peter's side
Instant he smote, and called, Arise !
Sudden the close bound chains divide
And fall — he lifts his wondering eyes !
His hands are free ! the spirit said,
Take up thy garment, follow me !
And, awe-struck, trembling, Peter fled
Ev'n as he saw the Angel flee.
The wards are past — the iron gate
Turns freely for the Angelic guest,
And in the open street they wait,
When passed that vision from the blest.
The Angel fled — then Peter knew,
When from his sudden trance he rose,
Deliverance from the Lord he drew,
From Herod and his faithless foes.
And is not ours a purer light ?
A nobler visitant of Heaven ?
Celestial visions bless our sight,
Celestial hopes to us are given.
In our dark prison bound below,
The voice of Jesus still is heard,
And some their chains will from them throw,
And rise to meet their coming Lord.
Those prison doors he soon shall break,
The iron gates of death shall free,
His faithful followers shall partake
His own all-glorious liberty.
106 THE SACRED
TRUTH AND IMMORTALITY.
Thus Error is linked in with Truth : in vain
The mind may struggle to be free, and shake
Its fetters off, and loose the galling chain.
Not yet ! not yet ! not till the soul shall break
The bondage of its prison house, and be
A denizen of Immortality.
O Holy and Eternal Truth ! thou art
An emanation of the Eternal mind !
A glorious attribute — a noble part
Of uncreated being ! who can find,
By thought and searching, who can find out thee,
The Incomprehensible — the Deity?
The human mind is a reflection caught
From thee, a trembling shadow of thy ray !
Thy glory beams around us, but the thought
That heaven-ward wings its daring flight away,
Returns to where its flight was first begun,
Blinded and dark beneath the noon-day sun.
The soul of man, though sighing after thee,
Hath never known thee, saving as it knows
The stars of heaven, whose glorious light we see ;
The sun, whose radiance dazzles as it glows ;
Something that is beyond us, and above
The reach of human power, but not of human love.
And yet thou hast not left thyself without
A revelation ; all we feel and see,
Within us and around, forbids to doubt,
Yet speaks so darkly and mysteriously
Of what we are, and shall be evermore,
We doubt, and yet believe, and tremble, and adore !
Thanks be to God ! the glorious day will come,
Wherein the soul shall see, and feel, and know !
Earth — earth is not our everlasting home;
But through the shadows of this world below
The spirit journeys homeward to the sky,
A way-worn pilgrim of eternity.
Eternity ! no mortal e'er could break
Thy seal of mystery, save him alone,
' Who dwelt in Patmos for his Saviour's sake,'
And in his vision saw a great white throne,
And him that sat thereon, before whose face
The earth and heaven fled, and found no place.
108 THE SACRED
Eternity ! O let the dead again
Put on their mortal garments and return !
Give back — give back thy dark and shadowy train
Once more, that they may tell, in ' words that
Thy fearful mysteries of good and ill !
A voice within us answers, Peace, be still !
The spirits of the loved and the departed
Are with us ; and they tell us of the sky,
A rest for the bereaved and broken-hearted,
A house not made with hands, a home on high !
Holy monitions — a mysterious breath —
A whisper from the marble halls of death !
They have gone from us, and the grave is strong !
Yet in night's silent watches they are near !
Their voices linger round us, as the song
Of the sweet skylark lingers on the ear,
When, floating upward in the flush of even,
Its form is lost from earth, and swallowed up in
Oh, chase me not away ! for I would drink,
Even I, the weakest, at the fount of life ;
Chide not my steps, that venture near the brink,
Weary, and fainting, from the deadly strife.
Went I not forth undaunted and alone,
Strong in the majesty of human might ?
Lo ! I return, all wounded and forlorn,
My dream of glory lost in shades of night.
Was I not girded for the battle field ?
Bore I not helm of pride, and glittering sword ?
Behold the fragments of my broken shield,
And lend, oh ! lend, the armour of the Lord !
110 THE SACRED
'THE WATERS WERE ABATED.'
The world was ocean ! the huge ark, upraised,
Swung heavily along the boundless tide :
Its weary inmates gazed upon the deep,
They heard the rain-drop's ceaseless fall above,
The sullen dashing of the waves below ;
And long and vainly bent their eyes to see,
Through the dark shadows of the misty heaven,
Some friendly shore that barred the waters in,
But all was ocean ! all the arrogant hills,
Whose silvery summits once defied the sun,
The trees and towers, were many a fathom down.
Then could they hear each other's sinking heart
Beat low and faintly, as despair came on ;
Day after day the morning brought no sun,
The evening kindled not her watchlight star,
And midnight had no deeper shade to bring ;
But still they rested on the boundless deep,
That dreary grave of nature and of man.
Joy comes at last ! the falling floods retire ;
Down sinks the ark upon the mountain ridge,
Whose rock-crowned summits island all the deep.
Now, burning high, the morning's welcome star,
Once more the herald of a cloudless sun,
Looks from the purple embrasure of heaven,
And prints his brightness on the wave below.
Now round the ark the balanced raven wheels,
Darts his fierce glance upon the unburied dead,
Waves his black pinions, and returns no more.
With plaintive murmurs, the familiar dove
Bends o'er the wave, to trace his favorite vale
In the deep soundings of the gentle sea ;
And in the mirror spread beneath him sees
Only the glancings of his weary wing.
But soon he comes with gladness in his flight,
And bears the olive's never-fading green —
The favoured leaf which waters cannot drown —
Now the bright signal of release to man.
Forth from their floating sepulchres they go :
The earth around is desolate and still,
And sends a chilness to the gazer's heart.
The wild beast's cry, the wild bird's song is still ;
No insect's hum, nor voice of busy man,
Comes on the stillness of the desert air.
The bold winds hush their far-resounding might,
And breathe like infants in their placid sleep.
No falling torrent thunders from the rock,
No streamlet murmurs in its peaceful bed.
The silent waves lie sleeping on the beach,
The calm lakes slumber in their banks again.
112 THE SACRED
The fields spread round their waste and withered
The old trees cast their aged arms abroad,
Not in their autumn beauty of decay,
But dark and seared, as if with lightning fires.
— They raise their grateful offering to their God ;
The fire of sacrifice is faint and dim :
The smoke-wreaths fold around the altar stone,
And climb not upward when the moveless clouds
Stand fixed upon their stations in the sky.
Must it be so ? Shall Nature breathe no more,
Nor life re-animate its face again ?
Hark ! the warm breeze is rising in the sky.
Now bright and fast the sacrifice consumes,
And clouds of incense hasten up to heaven.
The glad waves dance — the ocean lifts its voice,
Rejoicing that its work of death is done.
The forests send from out then- caverns green
The solemn fulness of the organ's tone,
Deeper than rolls in temples made with hands.
The boundless fields spread wide their emerald
Where the tired eye may rest in calm delight.
The infant blossoms burst their prisoning shells,
And varied brilliants gem the hills and vales,
Like fallen rainbows shivered into flowers.
But high o'er all the unbroken rainbow springs,
For now the sun hath climbed the eastern hill,
OFFERING. 1 13
And, slowly rising on his mountain throne,
Smiles on that lovely stranger of the heaven
That fronts him on the purple mass of clouds,
"Whose dark folds roll in majesty away.
'T is beautiful ! admiring hearts and eyes
Are lifted up to that new sign of love,
And the world's sorrows find repose at last:
For God hath said it, and their hearts reply
That His own hand hath bent its arching tower,
And bound its coloured circles in the heaven,
That all might read the promise of his love
Oft as it drives the angry storm away.
Man would have stamped it in recording brass,
Or graved it in the everlasting rock ;
But God hath framed it finer than the air,
With tints as frail as those of slender flowers,
Or evening clouds that fade beneath the view.
Thousands of years have risen and passed away ;
Stars have expired ; and yet the rainbow lives,
In all the brightness of its earliest light,
On Nature's festivals to span the heavens;
Till the last heart of man shall cease to beat,
And ocean roll its latest w r ave a way.
114 THE SACRED
THE SABBATH SCHOOL.
Lowly were those who assembled there,
To receive the teachings the lowliest share ;
They came from the herdsman's woodland home,
Through the quiet fields which they loved to roam;
They came whence the pale mechanic's board,
The six days' toil had but scantly stored ;
They came from the widow's lonely hearth,
Whence the prayer of the father no more went forth ;
Some from the cot, where no mother's voice
Made the hearts of childhood and youth rejoice ;
And some from the dwellings, where shame, and sin,
Desolation, and anguish had entered in ;
Yet they were to me as the wilding flowers
The joyous spring o'er the green earth pours ;
As the track of the morn in the starless sky ;
As the stream that flows onward in melody.
Long had I looked on that infant race,
And marked the expression of every face ;
I knew the first foot-prints of grief were there,
The incipient furrow, that told of care ;
I saw that in many a downcast eye
Was the languor of comfortless poverty,
And the sullen tone, or the frown, expressed
That deceit or passion had brought unrest ;
But I knew when evil had made its claim,
What a world of good there would yet remain,
How much of the kindliest sympathy,
Which sorrow had nurtured and care would try ;
How much of the self-denying love,
The fiery trials of life would prove ;
Of energy, talent, how strong a tide,
That needed instruction its power to guide,
And what generous fires that will long bum on,
When the love that awakened the spark is gone.
I know, in the lot that awaits the poor,
Temptation, and trial, and scorn are sure ;
But I still look on to what mind may be,
I am hopeful yet of humanity.
Then blest is the teacher's place, though it be
At the outward gate of the sanctuary. —
And what if the good which is done be small,
In a state where the pleasures of sense must pall ?
Is it nothing to bear in our hearts a joy
Which will never languish, will never cloy ?
It 'is sweet in the pathways of life to meet
So many young creatures our smile to greet ;
It is pleasant to welcome the sabbath day,
With such sabbath feelings to bless its sway ;
But the teacher's office implies yet more —
'T is to bear a name which the Saviour bore ;
116 THE SACRED
Not only to watch for the coming spring,
But some drops of dew to its flowers to bring ;
'T is to keep a fount from pollution free,
Whose waters tend on to a boundless sea;
'T is to search the depths of a soundless mine,
O for the world where its gems will shine !
Now that our ' days are in the yellow leaf,'
And summer's fruits lie dead, there is a word
Which, with peculiar and heavy grief,
Smites on our hearts ; its leaden tone is heard
'Midst jocund songs ; no hush is so profound,
That this one word — the lost — breathes not its sound.
Lost hopes of youth, lost joys of other days,
Kind words and greetings that are heard no more ;
And beauties hid forever from our gaze,
Because we feel them not as heretofore ; [press
Lost home — lost friends — these are the thoughts that
Round elder years, and make their dreariness.
But are these treasures lost ? O that our trust
Were stronger, that we had an eye to see
The vital spark, that lingers in the dust,
'Midst all its dull and cold inanity.
O that our hearts were warmer in the faith,
That glows amidst bereavement, change, and death.
Annihilation cannot be with God ;
There is no waste of happiness with him ;
His spirit quickeneth beneath the sod,
And rests upon the path that seemeth dim.
There's renovation with the Mighty One,
And he will speed its work of gladness on.
* Time, the devourer,' he must pass away ;
He must give back, as will the unfathomed sea ;
We are not his ; the creatures of a day ;
The great Restorer comes, Eternity !
To teach the immortal what the mortal knew,
Each feeling, thought, affection to renew.
"What do we mourn? — our spring-time's light and dew,
The balmy softness of its murmuring air,
The freshness of beginning life, that threw
The magic of its influence every where,
The source of joy within us, that could make
All outward things its vividness partake ?
118 THE SACRED
Is it the first pure love of rill, or flower,
That lured the timid step adown the glen,
While the young spirit, bound by Nature's power,
Half wondered at its own sensations then ;
The admiration deep, or glad surprise,
As each new truth unfolded to our eyes ?
Life and creation will again be new :
How then are lost the feelings of our youth,
At whose bright fountains apprehension grew
Strong to receive far, far more glorious truth ?
When first the primrose bank the infant sought,
The love for the Creator's works was caught.
The mountain's grandeur, and the forest's shade,
The valley's quiet depths and pathways green,
The canopy by waving chestnuts made,
The streams of quivering light that stole between,
The silvery voice of the half hidden brook,
The whispering breezes, which the green corn shook ;
These things have been unto us as a friend ;
The love of them has purified the heart ;
It cannot be that influence must end,
Which has performed so beautiful a part ;
Our sympathy with nature will remain,
And form a portion of ourselves again.
E'en as if every flower again should ope,
And each particular leaf become a star,
Recognizable in the horoscope,
Athwart the universe extending far ;
When he who loved the moss, the violet's dye,
Looks on the unveiled glories of the sky.
And of the lost, yet more. — If we have found
Companionship w T ith things inanimate,
Listened with rapture to their liquid sound,
And felt then beauty soothe and elevate,
How have we loved the living forms that made
Home bright, at morning's dawn and evening's shade ?
How did we love the gentle hands once laid
In sweet caressing on our shining hair ;
The kindness ever looked, the welcome said,
The whispered blessing, and the silent prayer;
The kindred few, who shared youth's happy hours,
Whose wishes, thoughts, and pleasures, all were ours.
Our joyous ones — the loved of elder years,
They, in whose life our own again grew young,
Whose thrilling voices brake upon our ears,
'Midst memories of old, that round us clung,
Till long hushed echoes in our hearts rung out
In answering glee to their exulting shout.
120 THE SACRED
Are these the lost ? The pure, the spiritual,
The beautiful, the good of human kind, —
Spirits like these are the material
Whereof God fashioneth the angel's mind.
The shade of evil, which these spirits crost,
Is all of them that is for ever lost.
There is an awful and mysterious link
Between this life and immortality ;
'T is well sometimes to pause awhile, and think
What is it constitutes identity. —
If it be not affection, feeling, thought,
That with our being hath been long inwrought.
We cannot deem th' All-merciful would give
A love undimmed, unquenchable, unspent,
Through a long life within the heart to live,
If for some future good it were not meant.
He gave its objects, he will then restore,
Retouched, and fitted to decline no more.
Has it not been the glory of our faith,
The very root from which devotion grew,
To know that God will break the bonds of death,
To renovate, not to create anew.
The resurrection of the man must mean
Recovered consciousness of what has been.
Then, Memory, hail ! the withered heart grows warm
With thee the path of life to traverse back ;
As each familiar face and well-known form
Glideth in light upon the shadowy track,
Count up the lost, and as their sum will be
The riches of the spirit's treasury.
PSALM IV. 8.
Eternal God of love and power,
I will thy praise resound ;
And tell how every passing hour
Is with thy goodness crowned !
Throughout the day, thy tender care
Has all my wants supplied,
And deigned from many a baneful snare
My erring steps to guide.
But oh ! my tongue in vain essays
Thy bounty to declare,
122 THE SACRED
It ne'er can tell in mortal lays
How great thy mercies are !
But yet thine all-discerning eye
My grateful heart can see,
And all its warm emotions lie,
Dear Lord ! exposed to thee !
Oh ! while mine eyes are closed in sleep,
Do Thou my guardian be ;
And deign my wearied frame to keep
From every danger free !
LINES COMPOSED IN AUTUMN.
List! 'tis no earthly music! to mine ear
That thrush's note, in Autumn's shortening day,
Fraught with the hope and promise of the spring,
Sounds like a heavenly strain — opening at once
A thousand secret cells where memory slumbered.
Joys vanished long revive ; and fresh and fragrant
Bloom the sweet flowerets of life's happy spring ;
Fair are the flowers — but transient — and their odours
Breathe on the sense with sweet but dying fragrance,
Mingling regret with pleasure: 'tis the lot
Of all things mortal, they are born to perish ;
And their brief history strikes upon the ear
With mournful cadence, changing every joy
To sadness. Yet an antidote remains
Within the human heart ; a sense infused
Deep in the soul, of its own deathless nature,
And every impulse potent to enkindle
Imagination's hallowing power, or touch
The tender springs of memory, fertile still
In scenes of joy and sorrow (interchange
Of kindly thoughts and actions, and the treasury
Left by the aspects of all-beauteous nature),
Arises too within the heart of man
A consciousness of immortality,
Bidding defiance to the withering touch
Of time, and death the spoiler. He whose eye
Hath thus been cleared to ' see into the life
Of things,' discerns in every changing aspect
Of varied nature some reviving emblem
Of this glad truth. The sunbeam, lighting quick,
With instantaneous touch, the landscape, shrouded
Before in brooding vapours, points our hope
Instinctively to that fair land of promise,
Where doubt and error's gloomy mists shall vanish,
Touched by the force of truth's resplendent beam,
And all be light and gladness. In the west,
124 THE SACRED
The evening sun, 'midst clouds of splendor sinking,
Points to the Christian's course, with joy fulfilled:
Its parting orb, by heaven's own light illumed,
Tells us a blissful tale of hope and promise.
Not shrouded in eternal night, its beams
Sink from the view, but with < new spangled ore '
Decked, on a brighter, fairer day shall dawn, —
A cloudless day, on which no night shall set.
Thus in each aspect of created nature,
Almighty Father ! be it mine to read,
With deep and grateful love, the sacred truths
Traced in no doubtful characters ; and still
From the dear lesson may I gather strength
To tread, with willing feet, the appointed way,
The narrow way that leads to heaven and Thee.
O hear my prayer, Almighty God !
Thy grace, thy truth, impart ;
O lead me in the heavenly road,
And sanctify my heart.
May virtue, purity, and peace
There hold their spotless throne ;
And there the blessed seed increase,
Religion's hand has sown.
O may immortal hope prevail
To chase my spirit's gloom ;
That sacred trust, which cannot fail,
Conduct me to the tomb.
While piety, and joy, and love
Still beam upon my way,
As silently through life I move,
Beneath their holy ray, —
Let earth, and earth's vain cares depart,
O raise my soul to heaven :
My only offering is that heart,
Which thou, O God, hast given
126 THE SACRED
1 1 laid me down and slept j I awaked ; for the Lord sustained me.'-
Psalm iii. 5.
Again, from calm and sweet repose,
I rise to hail the dawn ;
Again my waking eyes unclose,
To view the smiling morn.
Great God of love ! thy praise I '11 sing,
For thou hast safely kept
My soul beneath thy guardian wing,
And watched me while I slept.
Glory to thee ! eternal Lord !
Oh teach my heart to pray,
And thy blest Spirit's help afford,
To guide me through the day.
Let every thought and word accord
With thy most holy will ;
Each deed the precepts of thy word
Religiously fulfil !
From danger, sin, and every iD,
My constant guardian prove ;
Oh sanctify my heart, and fill
With thoughts of holy love.
Let me not wander comfortless,
My Father, far from Thee,
But still, beneath thy guardian wing,
In holy quiet be.
The storms of grief, the tears of woe,
Soothed by thy love, shall cease,
And all the trembling spirit breathe
A deep, unbroken peace.
The power of prayer shall o'er me shed
A soft celestial calm ;
Sweeter than evening's twilight dews,
My soul shall drink its balm.
For there the still small voice shall speak
Thy great, Thy boundless love ;
128 THE SACRED
And angel forms the mourner call
To the bright realms above.
I hear that call, ah yes ! I hear
Those tones so fondly loved ;
And to that bright and sinless world
I know he is removed.
The beaming of his smile is gone,
The yearning heart is vain,
A brother and a friend I lose,
Whom 1 may ne'er regain.
To that blest world, to that blest world,
My weeping thoughts shall flee,
Shall follow him, so long beloved,
A little time, not comfortless
Beneath thy guardian wing —
And thou wilt reunite the hearts
That now are sorrowing.
There is freedom in the ocean,
There is spirit in the breeze,
There is life in every motion
Of the ever restless seas.
With the bending crest of foam
In the sunny radiance glancing ;
And the rippling sounds that come
Still dying, still advancing.
And will it not be joyous,
When this mortal coil is o'er,
And its cares no more annoy us,
To meet upon that shore,
Where the waves of life are sparkling
In the regions of the blest ;
'Where the wicked cease from troubling,
And the weary are at rest.'
130 THE SACRED
PARAPHRASE OF THE LORD'S PRAYER.
Our Father, who in heaven art,
All hallowed be thy name !
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
In earth and heaven the same.
Give us this day our daily bread ;
Our trespasses forgive,
As those who trespass against us
Our pardon shall receive.
Into temptation lead us not,
Deliver us from ill ;
For thine the kingdom, thine the power,
And thine the glory still !
THE MOTHER'S PRAYER.
The mother's face, it is pale with care,
Though lighted with smiles such as mothers wear ;
Though sickly the hue which is on the brow,
The eye beams with love and with joy below;
There's a hope and a trust in that mother's heart —
She does not dream of the hour to part.
And now she has bended her knee to pray,
While sickness is wasting her life away ;
Her hands are folded in fervent love,
Her spirit's desire is borne above ;
O ! not for herself those pleadings deep —
For the health of her child in his rosy sleep.
For him w r ith the bright and the sunny face,
Which daily ripens in bloom and grace ;
Oh ! her dreams are all of his future years,
She fancies his griefs with a mother's tears ;
And yet at his smile sweet visions play,
To chase all those sadder thoughts away.
She prays that a Father's love may shrine
His opening youth with a trust divine ;
132 THE SACRED
That the world in its varied forms of ill
May never his guileless bosom fill,
But, all unsullied, the heavenly flame
May return to Him from whom it came.
O ! more and more earnest that mother's prayer,
As her sighs are breathed on the midnight air ;
Her own sad fate she has all forgot, —
The unkindness that wounds her daily lot,
The neglect that leaves her to weep unknown, —
Her heart is full of her child alone.
And the prayer is heard — it is traced above,
In the glowing light of a mother's love ;
A few short days — she must fade and die,
And the baby will heed not her farewell sigh ;
But when she is laid in her youthful grave,
That prayer shall have power to shield and save.
O human love ! what a load it would be,
Fearful and sad, to cherish thee,
In a world where all things lovely fly
The delighted gaze of the dreamer's eye,
But for the hope that cannot fade,
For the clear bright faith that knows no shade.
For there is a land where the smile is true,
Where the cheek is ever a healthy hue, —
Where the heart for unkindness weeps no more,
And the thousand fears of earth are o'er ;
And in that land, oh ! is it not sweet
To think that the mother and child will meet ?
MATTHEW, CHAP. II.
The star of Bethlehem shone — and they who sought
The infant Jesus, blest the living ray,
As through the clear bright sky it traced the way
To Mary's lowly roof: the wise men brought
Their costly offerings, where the child of God
Reposed in peace upon His mother's breast,
Around the sleeping Saviour then they prest,
Fell down and worshipped Him, in spirit awed —
Gold, frankincense, and myrrh, before Him spread,
Whose offering is the pure and contrite heart.
O Master ! may I chuse that better part —
No vain oblation bring — but ever led
In deep humility to seek thy shrine,
And offer there a trust and hope divine.
134 THE SACRED
The last, the last — oh it is sad
The last surviving one to be
Of what was once a family ;
And where the social smile was glad,
To gaze upon the vacant chair, —
The meal the loved ones may not share.
'T is sad, in summer-eve, to walk
Along a fair and lovely scene,
Where in past years familiar talk
And greetings fond have been ; —
But sadder still the hour of prayer,
Without their dear communion there.
And O what pain — the morning hour,
The first of bitter consciousness,
When life resumes its torturing power,
Without their looks of love to bless —
In melancholy long array,
Presenting the forsaken day.
But night — ah night — when all is still,
How do the fearful thoughts of gloom
The lonely thrilling spirit fill,
And with the midnight silence come —
How do the graves of those most dear
Still green before our eyes appear !
Oh yes ! when all are sunk in sleep,
Then is our own devoted hour,
Their memories in our heart to keep,
And tears of tenderness to shower !
The harvest of past years to reap,
And feel more near them while we weep.
The last, the last — oh it is sad
To hear no brother's well-known voice.
To see no sister forms rejoice,
Where once the blazing hearth was glad ;
And thoughts of love, and tones of mirth,
In home's delightful shade had birth !
I sit — a last and lonely one,
And think — I often can but think —
How all my fair and loved are gone ;
And yet I do not seem to sink,
Although sometimes I wonder how
Life lingers on this pallid brow.
136 THE SACRED
'T will soon be past — this grief untold ;
The visions of the future rise,
With their fair heavenly destinies ;
I see them all unfold —
My place of rest their grave will be,
And mine their blest futurity.
O never, never close thy heart
To human hope — her rapturous power
Shall chase the tear-drops as they start,
And light w 7 ith smiles the future hour.
Hope on — hope on — it may not be —
Yet let thy heart-dreams still be bright ;
Still picture that sweet destiny
In which thy spirit may delight.
Thy friend is at thy side — ah no !
That friend must find an early tomb,
And death's dark veil conceal below
That eye of love, that cheek of bloom.
But dearer hopes shall still be thine ;
That tender gaze, that angel face
Shall all thy soul's fond hopes enshrine,
And every lighter grief efface.
Alas ! that gaze shall coldly change,
That angel glance be thine no more ;
And coming years that love estrange,
Which was to bless till life was o'er.
Yet still hope on — though friendship weep,
Thy friend awaits thee 'mongst the blest ;
Thy hope, thy faith, thy fondness keep,
Go — seek her in the realms of rest !
Live as she lived — on others pour
The stream of kindness and of peace ;
And with deep trust behold the hour
When earth's bereaved tears shall cease.
And for thy lost and broken love,
O ! whisper to thy aching heart,
That He that anguish can remove,
Whose will supreme first bade ye part.
Yes ! thou shalt meet that angel gaze,
Again thine own, in realms of bliss,
Where love shall wear immortal rays,
And, unreproved, thy heart be his.
138 THE SACRED
Hope on — hope on — for joy is here,
Even in this dark and chequered scene ;
Go ! chase thy every doubt and fear,
Thy life a Father's care hath been.
v SONNET ON MILTON.
A PASSAGE FROM DR. CHANNING's ESSAY
ON MILTON, PARAPHRASED.
Behold him in his last years desolate,
Forsaken, fallen — in man's erring sight,
Condemned by power supreme to his dark state —
But sightless, still he lives in happier light —
His inward eye ranges o'er nature's face,
And sheds on her, beams brighter than the sun,
In pure imagination's fadeless grace.
Heaven, hell, and paradise are his — still run
His retrospective glances to past days,
To sages, and apostles, prophets, knights,
Heroes and gifted bards. — Then time displays
The triumphs yet to come ; his soul delights
In freedom's glorious reign ; whilst smiling fame
Points to the hearts now throbbing at his name.
When mortal joys take wiDg and flee,
I own thy chastening rod ;
My wandering heart returns to thee,
My Father, and my God !
I know thou wilt not chide in vain ;
But, with a parent's love,
The gracious hand that gives me pain
Will all my comfort prove.
Oh ! for an angel's voice, to speak
The treasures of thy grace,
Still open when we haste to seek,
And bow before thy face.
Then in the gloomy night of grief
I'll trust thy guardian power;
Omnipotence can bring relief,
And cheer the darkest hour.
140 THE SACRED
Say, Reader! canst thou bear, and not complain,
Grief's silent languor, or the hour of pain ;
One small sick room, with noiseless footstep tread,
And raise in peaceful hope the aching head:
Smile at the joy it is not thine to share,
And make another's pleasure soothe thy care ?
Canst thou, while they beguile the weary hours
With nature's charm of sunshine, air, and flowers,
Resigned, still quaff thy daily draught, nor mourn
O'er days long past, that never can return ?
Say, canst thou look, with calm and tearless eyes,
On thy imprisoned days, and nights of sighs ?
Nor of each friend who calls implore the skill,
And watch the glance that dooms thee well or ill ?
Hold out the feverish hand, nor start to see
A face that changes on beholding thee ?
Firm in thy God, and in thy heavenly trust,
Canst thou remember fearless thou art dust?
Look to the future, glad and undismayed,
And smiling see thy life recede in shade ?
Then, Reader, go — the world to thee can bring
In trials, woes, temptations, not one sting.
Let not thy heart deceive thee — Day, no frown ;
I tell thee that thou wilt be taught by sorrow,
Thou spring-enthusiast, who believ'st the crown
Thou wear'st to-day will bind thy head to-morrow.
O young and guileless ! all thy deep-souled feeling,
Wherein thy heart rejoices, will not last ;
It is the sunshine of the soul, revealing
A morn of light too quickly overcast.
Thy bright thoughts will desert thee ; vainly grieving,
Thou may'st recall them, but their soul is fled ;
And thou wilt chide, and call thy hopes deceiving,
And thou in bitterness thy tears wilt shed,
And thou wilt vainly shed them ; ne'er returning,
The vanished bliss thou never more shalt feel ;
The heart it filled shall be a place of mourning
And wretchedness, that time can never heal.
And then the shades of all thy lost affections
And blighted hopes shall haunt thy onward way,
Mingling their sadness with thy heart's reflections,
And tracking thee to life's extreme decay.
Nay, shrink not, trembler, at my weak word's painting;
Be firm — so shall thy heart un wounded be;
And thou shalt fail not, if thine eye unfainting
Keep its strong gaze upon eternity.
Time heals not the heart- stricken — common woe
May shed its showers to-day, which with the night
Vanish, and gaze upon the morning's light
Contentedly and calmly ; but not so
The grief that rises from the spirit's blight,
For touched with it we wither, and the sight
Of after-days is torture, deep arid slow.
And then comes on the sickness of the earth,
For we are not of it, and we endure
Our lot in silence, for our tongues are poor,
And language hath no meaning; then our mirth
Is watching how those things are waxing fewer
Which were our joys ; we smile to see how sure
Our lot was cast in sadness at our birth.
Time cannot heal our hopelessness, nor gather
The fragments of the vase in which we placed
The treasures of our hearts, but which, defaced,
Is dashed to earth and broken: no, no, rather
Time deepens all the lines which sorrow traced.
Is there no refuge, then? yes, soul-abased,
Pray thou in humbleness to thy great Father.
But pray not thou for bliss — that dream is perished ;
No — supplicate for patience ; so shalt thou,
With a contented heart and quiet brow,
Muse somewhat sweetly on the scenes that nourished
Thy young heart's throbbings ; and if tears should
Their sources will not be the clouds of woe,
But in those fountains by the happy cherished.
And art thou sad ? Thou in whose heart
The holiest, loveliest feelings rest,
And painful is thy chosen part,
With doubts, and fears, and cares opprest ?
O yet regret not thou the call
Which asks thy youth, thy strength, thy all ?
That offering is not made in vain,
Some human thoughts may try thy love,
But weary hours of toil and pain,
Pure hopes shall raise thy soul above ;
And thine the recompense be given
To lead us, as thy own, to heaven.
144 THE SACRED
Yes! childhood's form by thee is led
To bend before the holy shrine ;
There young devotion's tear is shed,
There breathe high aims and thoughts divine !
O faint not, there thy steps have trod,
To lead the pure in heart to God !
In noblest minds will deepest lie
The kindling wish for wider power ;
To raise, to guide, to sanctify,
And all around new blessings shower ;
And disappointment still must rise,
From that soul's lofty purities !
But we must trust ; with trembling hand,
'T is our's a little seed to sow ;
It springs at the Divine command,
And may to full perfection grow ;
Beauty and fragrance it shall bring,
And breathe of everlasting spring.
What art thou, strange and unknown destiny,
Mysterious thing, called Death ! which hath such
To gloom the soul, yes in its lightest hour,
And make it dizzy with futurity,
With thoughts that quiver on the boundary
Of mortal knowledge, and fall back again
Upon the anxious heart, and wondering brain,
From heaven's vault to their own obscurity ?
What art thou — that thy very name's a spell
To raise terrific phantoms, and to make
The living blood in its warm mansion quake,
And the calm pulses quicken and rebel ?
If thought of thee came leagued with that of Hell,
And brought dark bodings, then it might be so ;
But thou art angel-sent, to realms below,
Of purer spheres, and brighter skies, to tell.
Is not God goodness ? wherefore shall we fear,
O death ! though dim, unsearchable, unseen,
146 THE SACRED
Thy mission is, and hath for ever been ;
Though none return to tell thy secrets here,
Yet will I tremble not to feel thee near ;
Thou canst not reach my spirit, and I dare
To front thy terrors, awful as they are,
When from a Saviour's lips redeeming love I hear.
Yes — God is goodness ; and perchance even thou,
Fancied so fearful, wilt but softly break
Our mortal fetters, till released we wake,
Heaven's holiest breezes playing on our brow.
Angel of death ! I do not fear thee now ;
I see the good with smiles before thee stand ;
I know a Father's love directs thy hand,
And to the high behest I calmly bow.
When doubts and fears assail my soul,
Which trembling owns their dark control,
When sorrows thicken o'er my head,
And when my path with clouds is spread,
When earthly hope has past away,
And friendship sheds a fainter ray,
Oh in that hour of deep distress,
Where shall I seek for happiness ?
I'll seek it in the lowly cot,
In blessing the lone sufferer's lot ;
I'll seek it by the dying bed,
Where christian peace I'll strive to shed ;
I'll seek it in the humble prayer
With which I soothe the breast of care ;
I'll seek it where the tear-drop flows,
With me, more gently, o'er its woes.
Ah yes ! compassion's tender train
May bring me back my peace again,
I will not brood o'er selfish loss,
Though mine to bear the bitter cross ;
I will not meditate my grief,
When wretch edu ess demands relief;
The ministry of love is mine,
The aim, the hope, the deed divine,
To bless, to comfort, and to save, —
I render all to Him who gave !
148 THE SACRED
THE AUTUMN DIRGE.
1 heard a voice, a plaintive voice, one eve amongst
Which rose upon the trembling air more mournful
than the breeze ;
It came with every moaning gale by fits upon my ear,
And this was the sad, touching strain I almost wept
* It is not that the autumn wind through the lone
woods is sighing,
It is not that the summer leaves on the pale boughs
Nor that the little birds are hushed which late so
Nor that the flowers are perishing which once a fra-
The earth indeed is green no more, but it is not for
That I mourn with the withering trees, although their
bloom I miss ;
The trees 1 know will shoot again, the vales again
And yet once more, at spring's bright call, the little
birds will sing.
But there's a sadness in my heart that may not pass
That will not heed, and will not feel, the fairest sum-
mer day ;
When all around awake to joy, I shall be weary still,
Though gentle skies, and winds, and flowers their
destined course fulfil.
For I have not performed my part, though every thing
From infancy even to this hour, its lesson told to me ;
The birds have sung, the flowers have bloomed, the
green earth had her prime,
But I have been but like a weed upon the stream of
For my bright years have passed away and have been
idle all ;
And lovely hopes I've seen decay, as fast as leaves
can fall ;
Aspirings high, and beauteous dreams, but mocked
me with their light,
For life with its cold blight has chilled my visions of
150 THE SACRED
So it is meet for me to sit and gaze on fading things ;
The melancholy change I love which darkening win-
ter brings ;
The lowering sky, the wailing breeze, the dreary
scenes I prize
Before the summer's sweetest bloom, before its softest
But yet the weed, though cast away, may live a little
So I may not at once decay, though parted from thy
But do not think I call it life — it is a joyless thing ; —
The weed must perish which the hand does from the
When clouds are darkening o'er the day,
Go ! try to smile them all away ;
When storms are brooding o'er the main,
Say ! canst thou make it calm again ?
OFFERING. J 5]
The rain is falling fast in showers,
Canst thou recall the sunny hours,
Or bid in winter's gloomy scene,
The earth and trees again be green ?
Thou mayst do this ere thou canst still
The throbbing waves of human will,
Or teach but one unhappy heart
To bid its cares and woes depart.
Oh ! vain attempt — thou canst not bind
Those restless energies of mind,
Which with their fatal force control
The sufferer towards the destined goaL
It is another power than thine
Which must electrify that shrine,
And waken in their deep recess
The thoughts that save, the hopes that bless.
152 THE SACRED
TO A FRIEND, IN ABSENCE.
O kind and gentle ! never from my heart,
Though far, far distant must our dwellings be,
Can the sweet traces of thyself depart,
So deeply rooted in my memory !
And be it so — while thus to think on thee
In each event has power to soothe and charm,
Thou the sweet resting-place where thought may flee,
And gather strength, and feel the mind grow calm?
Bright with benevolence, how late thine eye
Was gazing on me : — other eyes than mine
Behold thee now, and make the quick reply ;
And other tongues may give response to thine.
But not a soul, remote or near, can be
More one in heart than I, my friend ! with thee.
MATTHEW, CHAP. XI.
1 Come unto me,' the heavenly Teacher said,
' All ye with labor and with toil opprest,
And I will give your wearied spirits rest ;
And bear my yoke, and in my footsteps tread,
For I am meek and lowly, and will lead
Your souls to peace ; for gentle is my yoke,
My burthen light.' — Oh ! not in vain were spoke,
Saviour, thy words of mercy ; still decreed
To cheer my drooping soul, upon its way
Through earthly scenes of trial, care, and strife.
Yes, I will come to thee : thy words of life
Shall calm each anxious thought, and chase away
The hopes, the fears, the vain desires that rise,
To lure my spirit from its kindred skies.
i54 THE SACRED
When in the peaceful scene of graves
I walk, with gentle tread ;
And mark the green grass as it waves
Above some loved one's head ; —
It is not sorrow that I feel, —
Ah no ! thoughts far more deep
Upon my pensive spirit steal,
Than ere bade mourner weep.
All holy thoughts seem gathering there,
With sacred influence round ;
And every sigh is mixed with prayer
Upon that quiet ground.
Sweet visions of the future come,
And I forget my tears,
And long to reach my Father's home,
Away from cares and fears.
O home ! thy happiness is dearest, best —
In morn's bright hour to see the radiant sun
Awake us from health's soft, untroubled rest,
And feel the day of duty is begun ;
With thoughtful heart to raise the early prayer,
Fresh from the spirit, like the dew on flowers ;
Open to heaven our every wish and care,
And yield to God those first delightful hours.
How sweet, while nature lends her breath divine,
To all that grows imparting fragrancy,
To see the earth in glowing beauty shine,
And hear the lark's first note ascending high ;
But sweeter still it is to home and me
Than all the charms that mantle earth and sky,
With morning beams the smile I love to see,
And meet affection hi a parent's eye.
And when I breathe the tender evening air,
And all around is loveliness and peace,
'Tis not the blossoms and the breeze to share
That bids me hail the hour when labours cease.
No! radiant infant-looks are round me then,
And happy dreams are with me of their fate ;
156 THE SACRED
To their wild laughter my heart rings again,
And feels like them with childish joy elate.
I love the flowers their little hands entwine,
I hail the spring — because upon their brow
I see its pure, reviving influence shine,
And on their cheek its vermeil brightness glow.
I hail the summer — for the soft south wind,
Which wafts delicious perfume from the rose,
Come's with the thought of home's calm hour com-
And evening's gentle, melancholy close.
For then I read the tale of other years,
And lips are eloquent now laid in dust,
The ' beauty of repose ' which nature wears
Then fills my heart with tenderness and trust;
I hear the voices I may hear no more,
I meet the eyes I ever loved to see,
I seem to greet some tidings from the shore,
The far-off shore of dark eternity !
The sun that sits in richest splendour there,
The waters glowing with the depths of light,
Nature around so still, so bright, so fair,
And the soft notes that usher in the night.
O ! these are not to every sense so sweet,
As is the hushed and melancholy mood,
In which we seem departed friends to meet,
And call the lost to share our solitude!
When fancy waves unchecked her magic wand,
And memory's thrilling touch is at our heart,
And every breeze by which our brow is fanned,
Echoes some tone beloved — when our own part
Of human care and sorrow is forgot,
And hope is with them in those lovelier bowers,
What are the shades, the changes of our lot,
When that blue heaven and all beyond are ours ?
So sinks the peace Religion's calm inspires,
Like nature's holiest influence on the breast,
Pure as the sinking sun's expiring fires,
And calm as night's first hour of tranced rest.
The last sigh from the dying flowers exhaled
Sheds not such sweet and soothing fragrance round,
As comes the dream, when mortal hopes have failed,
To those who tread on memory's holy ground.
THE WORSHIPPER OF NATURE.
Nature ! in thee alone this heart hath found
That which hath ne'er deceived it — in thy grove,
Thy craggy rock, thy cataract's awful sound,
Is that which hath my heart's sole human love :
158 THE SACRED
I love to watch thy fading autumn skies,
To view thy russet fields, and foliage pale,
To see thy suns in glory set and rise,
And hear thy voice in every passing gale :
I love to sit, with fixed and tireless eye, [charms ;
And mark young spring unfold thy thousand
And when the wintry blast sounds fearfully,
I love to walk thy paths with folded arms,
And meditate on change, and time, and death,
That robs thy sweets, and sucks thy youthful bloom,
Borne to the wild wind all thy summer breath,
Thy flowers all faded in the common doom,
I love to pour to thee my unseen tears,
Which fondly fall upon my mother-earth ;
The short, and sorrowing spring-tide of my years,
No eye to mark, in pity, or in mirth.
For I am not of them : to thee alone
I breathe my hymn, and pour my youthful heart ;
Thy faithful rocks re-echo every tone,
Thy gloomy shades a peaceful charm impart.
Nature, thou canst not fail me ; human ties
Break like the frost-work of thy wintry morn,
But there is that in thy lone sympathies,
Which never from the trusting heart is torn.
Thou canst not be unkind ; day after day
Thy flowers still open, and thy sun still cheers,
Pouring the brightness of its rising ray
Upon the mournful pathway of my tears.
Thou never dost forget ; riches and blessing
Come forth from thee, as from a mother's breast
Flows the full tide to meet her babe's caressing,
So come thy hallowed gifts, all unreprest,
Thy spring's fresh sighs, thy summer's languid breeze,
Thy autumn's wild and melancholy blast.
Thy winter's silent day, and leafless trees,
All, all still blest, till life itself be past :
And when at last thy votary to the grave
All unreluctant goes, then only thou
Wilt weep o'er one thou hadst not power to save,
Faithful in death, still wave the cypress bough.
TO A FRIEND ON PARTING.
Farewell ! the blessing from above be with thee,
And guide and cheer thy wanderings ! O, my friend,
It is not our's to part with streaming eyes,
With all the pomp, the luxury of woe,
With words of sorrow, exquisitely framed
To glut the pampered feelings. — We have trod
Our blended paths as those who early knew
That time and chance must part them ; we have loved
160 THE SACRED
To walk together there ; to see the light
Of hope reflected in each other's eyes ;
To know we felt together, and that then
When nature, lovely nature, poured her sweets,
At eve, or morning, or the midnight hour,
Forth sprang our hearts alike to worship Him,
Who is our God and her's. And we have knelt
Down in his house together ; and have risen
With hearts above the paltry witnessings
Of earthly friendship. There we learnt to strive
For the blest portion of the pure in heart ;
Each saw in each a dweller of the skies,
A spirit framed to soar from strength to strength,
That came from God, and must to God return,
His righteous bidding done. And could we then
Look in each other's eyes, join hand to hand,
In an unhallowed friendship ? Could we stoop
To clog each other's wings with earthly weights,
When we might rise together to the skies ?
No, — rather, rather oceans roll between us ;
All nature join, all art exert her powers,
To keep our grovelling souls forever parted !
Right onward, to the combat ! each alone
Must urge his course awhile ; must tread the thorns
And pluck the flowers of life, and must prepare
His secret purpose — stretch his single arm
To aid the wretched, cope with powerful guilt,
And, harder task, wage warfare with himself.
But 't will be over soon ; life wanes apace ;
Go, in the fulness of an heavenly trust ;
Go, and our God be with thee ! Fare thee well.
JOHN, CHAP. XIX.
Stretched on the cross, with mortal woe oppressed,
The Son of Man breathed forth his parting sighs ;
Darkness o'erspread the earth ; and then the cries
Of smitten hearts were heard, and nearer pressed
His mother, and the follower whom he loved.
' Mother, behold thy son,' the Saviour said —
' Behold thy Mother.' The o'erwhelming dread
Of death came o'er him ; yet his pale lips moved
With love and mercy still, as the base crowd
Mocked at his sufferings, and the tumult grew.
1 Father, forgive ! they know not what they do ! '
Was heard amid his anguish, and aloud
He cried, ' 'T is finished ' — bowed his hallowed head,
And to his God the chastened spirit fled.
162 THE SACRED
Pale trembler, weep, by earthly hope forsaken,
Weep for thy flower, the rainbow of thy sight ;
Weep, but with quiet tears — His hand hath taken
Whose word can turn the soul's despair to light ;
Weep, for thy tears are blest, they shall waken
Within thy breast a soft and calm delight ;
Nature in kindness taught thy tears to flow,
And soothe the mourner in his hour of woe.
What fills the soul when earthly hopes have perished ?
What hand can bind a bruised and broken heart ?
Can it e'er cease to sigh o'er that it cherished,
From which high heaven has doomed that it shall part?
O yes ! by holier, higher feelings nourished,
In those bright realms where streams of gladness start,
The soul that mourned on earth shall there be blest,
And taste in heaven a pure and perfect rest.
In the dark hour of sorrow, when thy breast
Is filled with thoughts of anguish, deep and keen ;
And memory weeps o'er hopes that once have been ;
Seek, sufferer, seek the christian's hallowed rest.
To thy torn heart, in holy trust, be prest
The book of God, and on his promise lean,
Whose aid is ever thine ; where, all unseen
By mortal eye, the tears so long represt
Flow long and uncontrolled. O then His love
Shall turn those tears to rapture ; He shall raise
Thy vanished joy to bliss that angels prove,
And tune thy voice to hymns and songs of praise ;
The bitter conflict of thy breast shall cease,
And heavenly mercy win thy soul to peace.
164 THE SACRED
I fashioned in my soul a fantasy
Of most surpassing richness ; as my heart
In memory turns to it, sigh follows sigh,
And my sad tear-drops in disquiet start.
I walked upon heaven's calm and azure shore,
And o'er my ear, like murmurings of the sea,
By distance softened, came the gathering roar
Of the far regions of mortality.
And thou wert with me there — thou best and bright
Whom upon earth I loved and lost, and thou
With that sweet voice that could so well delight one,
Wert softly breathing thy heart's tremulous vow.
And thou wert mine for ever — yes, for ever,
In thine unfading beauty's earthless bloom ;
There were no mortal hands our vows to sever,
There for our loves there yawned no mortal tomb.
And thou bent on me thine eye's meek affection
With an unchanging gaze ; there was no fear,
No trouble in that sweet look, no dejection,
No earthly shade, save rapture's holy tear.
Then a bright angel, with a lovely voice,
Cried, ' This for all your mortal sufferings ;
This for your cross in patience borne — rejoice ! '
The light air trembled to his passing wings.
And rapturous was our lot ; undying youth,
Hearts purified by trial, fadeless love,
Rejoicing in the fulness of its truth ;
All that on earth we vainly hoped to prove.
And yet, though angels now, we were meek-hearted ;
The vision passed ; in anguish I awoke,
Shed some sad tears o'er heavenly hopes departed,
Then patiently put on my mortal yoke.
166 THE SACRED
* He feedeth on ashes j a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that
he cannot deliver his soul.'
He who, upon the world's vain shore,
Forgetteth Thee, Eternal One !
Soon shall his dangerous race be o'er,
His fatal course be run.
The heart that turneth cold from Thee,
Thy great and glorious power ;
That feareth not thy majesty,
Nor doth thy love adore ;
That heart is dead, though warm with life ;
Is dark, 'mid heaven's own light ;
Passions of earth there hold their strife,
And shroud the soul in night.
Though pleasure call, ambition fire,
Fortune and glory hail,
It never breathed the high desire
That turns earth's glories pale ;
That tells of nobler, purer joys,
Thy service and Thy praise ;
And bids the aspiring spirit rise
Beyond life's shadowy days ;
That speaks of virtue, trust, and peace ;
A clime more fair than this,
Where trials and temptations cease,
In sainted happiness.
The heart where heavenly hopes and aims
Have never shed their bloom,
Its noblest liberty disclaims,
Is fettered to the tomb.
It feeds on ashes, vanities,
Which soon, oh ! soon must fleet ;
How shall that dust-bound spirit rise,
The jojrs of heaven to meet ?
How shall an angel's feelings warm
The heart that never knew
Devotion's glow, that holiest charm
Which can the soul renew ?
168 THE SACRED
O can benevolence and love
Become the blest employ
Of one, who ne'er on earth would move
To share another's joy ?
Who never dropt one healing tear,
To soothe another's pain ?
Ah no ! the spirit fettered here
Will hardly break its chain.
Then pause in time — a moment pause,
And ask if on thy soul
Is graven deep God's holy laws,
Is felt his blest control ?
Pray, in thy helplessness and trust ;
A Father's love may hear,
And raise thy perished heart from dust,
To worship in his fear.
Teach me to spurn the poor deceit, that tries
To shun the scrutiny of human eyes ;
Remembering, in the brightness or the shade,
Alike Thy holy eyes my path pervade ;
And when the world its silent vigil keeps,
I cannot shun the gaze which never sleeps.
So o'er my heart thy light of love shall flow,
So shall I rise above all mortal woe ;
So shall my eyes, though wet with human tears,
Look calmly through the vale of coming years,
Nor longer brood, with unavailing sighs,
O'er my youth's store of treasured memories,
But, with immortal guidance ever blest,
Cast every earthly terror from my breast ;
Tread in the path our great forerunner trod,
And, Christ-like, find my perfect joy in God.
170 THE SACRED
My God ! in morning's radiant hour,
To Thee would I lift up ray heart ;
The shades of night obey thy power,
And at thy sun's bright beams depart.
From sleep's deep trance my thoughts arise,
Obedient to thy mighty call,
With all their powers and energies,
And at thy will Thou kindlest all.
Father and Guardian ! to thy shrine
The life Thou shieldest will I bring ;
All, great Creator ! all is thine,
My heart the noblest offering !
The morning light shall see my prayer ;
The noon-day heats shall witness praise ;
In evening glooms, and cooler air,
The grateful hymn I still will raise.
And not a star shall shine above,
The moon shall never beam her hour,
But still my soul shall bless thy love.
Or, rapt in wonder, own thy power.
And when, with sweet and soothing sleep,
My cares and sorrows find a rest,
Ere still oblivion o'er me creep,
Thy trust shall calm the wearied breast.
The spirit unto Thee shall pour
The joy or grief of that brief day,
Review its path when all is o'er,
And humbled, yet confiding pray.
That deep repose, that death-like scene,
Safe in thy care shall welcome be ;
The shadowy thoughts on thee shall lean,
The eye's last beam be raised to Thee !
And should ' a deeper sleep impend,'
A darker hour demand my faith,
With Thee, Creator, Guardian, Friend,
I'll enter on the shades of death !
172 THE SACRED
ON THE LATE REV. J. BUCKMINSTER, OF AMERICA.
Oh ! sainted virtue ! as upon thy page,
With burning heart, and eyes suffused, I bend,
Life seems fresh beauty and fresh hope to blend,
Kindled by thy deep thoughts : yes, age to age
Shall breathe thy inspiration ; at that shrine
Where holiest visions greeted thy young prayer,
'T is our's to meet thee, that high trust to share,
And gird our spirits for their race divine.
Still, still before us shall thine image shine,
In the unclouded glory of its power,
Pure, virtuous, steadfast, even in death's dark hour,
Calm and resigned amid thy frame's decline.
Oh ! consecrated genius ! thou shalt be
A guiding star to noblest victory.
THE STREAM OF LIFE.
Deem them not blest whom prosperous fortune guides
O'er life's smooth shore, or on her level tides ;
Who see the sunshine of one changeless sky,
No warning cloud, no saving breezes nigh.
Do hope and rapture fill their summer sail,
All gently wafted to the passing gale ?
Does every hour some light-winged pleasure rise,
Adorned with all fate's richest hand supplies ?
Deem them not blest — for to their darkened eyes,
A world presents its store of vanities ;
Wooes them to taste, to trust, and to admire,
And kindles in the soul each weak desire.
See, to her scenes they rush in frantic haste,
All her delusion, all her folly taste ;
In fashion's trifles lose each nobler aim,
And every earlier wish for better fame.
Where is the generous deed, the great design,
In those who study but to dress and shine ;
Lose all superior thought, and holier trust,
To hold communion with the things of dust ;
Sparkle a moment, like some gilded fly.
Flutter away their being, and then die ?
Oh is this life ? is this that sacred gift,
The soul to virtue and to heaven to lift,
Given in the circle of this fleeting time,
To sow the seed of a celestial clime ;
To cultivate those feelings, hopes, and deeds,
To which eternal happiness succeeds,
And teach to blossom, 'mid the thorns of earth,
The flowers whose beauty is of heavenly birth ?
What ! is this life ? to every scene to fly,
Yet ne'er to the great Giver lift the eye,
To view his power in nature's wide expanse,
Yet never raise up one adoring glance ?
In the world's mockeries still to play a part,
Till pride and vanity corrupt the heart,
Till the last scene of latest life be trod,
And it is past — a life without a God !
Oh ! happier they who feel his chastening hand,
And by affliction learn his high command ;
Whom sorrow leads to tremble and adore,
To know him better, and to seek him more ;
Who, as the world and its vain hope recedes,
Welcome the brighter prospect that succeeds,
Pour in humility and hope their tears,
And with religion hallow all their years.
What though by grief, by pain, by sufferings,
They learned the value of eternal things ;
And the rapt soul, that seemed on earth to hang,
Was slowly weaned by many a silent pang,
OFFERING. ] 75
And many a bitter conflict, many a strife,
Lingered around the vanities of life ;
Yet patience, virtue, persevering love,
At length have borne the chastened soul above ;
And holier tastes, and purer joys arise,
And peace descends, — such peace as glads the skies.
Oh deem them blest ; in every scene they tiy,
They live as children 'neath a Father's eye, .
Guard every virtue, feed each pure desire,
And watch through life o'er the ethereal fire.
Does disappointment sadden o'er their youth,
They seek the refuge of eternal truth,
There only are the joys that cannot fail,
And their heart glows, although their cheek be pale.
Does strong temptation try them, there they fly,
And put on their immortal panoply,
Own nature's weakness, but in christian strength
Grow strong, and come off conquerors at length ;
Higher and holier rising, till at last
Temptation's self grows weaker, and is past :
And making their's His high and blessed will,
Who bids the human heart beat or be still,
Resigned and happy, they receive their lot,
No mortal change to them where God is not.
Being of beings ! whose unbounded love
Exceeds all thought that human heart can prove ;
Whose mercy, felt in every moment's breath,
Guides us through life, and succours us in death ;
176 THE SACRED
Whose providential care, whose tenderness
Nor mind can reach, nor human power express ;
To whom the incense of one grateful prayer,
From the weak creatures thou hast made thy care,
Is more than all the pomp of sacrifice ;
Who, though enthroned beyond the radiant skies,
Yet watchest mortal virtue ; — to thy shrine
Would I devote this humble verse of mine ;
Aware, though million worlds seek thy behest,
Yet is thy temple in the human breast.
Is thy path lonely ? fear it not, for He
Who marks the sparrow fall is guarding thee ;
And not a star shines o'er thine head by night,
But he hath known that it will reach thy sight ;
And not a joy can beautify thy lot,
But tells thee still that thou art unforgot ;
Nay, not a grief can darken or surprise,
Swell in thy heart, or dim with tears thine eyes,
But it is sent in mercy and in love,
To bid thy helplessness seek strength above.
It is a lovely sight, when youth bows down,
With soft bright eyes, subdued in silent prayer ;
When cheeks that never wore the hue of care,
And brows encircled with the radiaut crown
Of sunny hair, and gentle folded hands,
And lips that breathe of happiness, are shrined
In the communion of their own pure mind,
With the eternal purity ; when joy
Brings its young, unstained offering, and each thought
Is of affection's holiest influence wrought ;
And sorrow hath not entered to destroy
The bright, unbroken trust ; when not a tear
Hath trembled o'er the hope of coming years,
And every lovely dream that lingers there
Is all unknown to life's maturer fears ;
When piety sheds flowers on innocence,
And sweetens early days. Is there a sight
More beautiful than this ? or is there incense
More grateful unto heaven than hearts thus light
Of sin or sorrow's weight ? — Ah yes ! there is
A dearer, nobler offering — 't is the prayer
178 THE SACRED
Breathed from the lips long paled by time and care,
And all estranged from hope of worldly bliss.
'T is resignation's offering ; when the heart
Hath wept departed loved ones, yet hath turned
With stronger faith above, and inly burned
With holier trust ; when it hath seen depart
The wreck of its false fortunes, yet can raise
To heaven a hymn of gratitude and praise.
The friends we love have passed away ;
The forms so dear no more we see ;
No more we meet the eye' smild ray,
Or catch the smile of sympathy.
No — these are fled ; but ask thy heart,
Are no fond traces lingering there, —
Memories we would not bid depart,
And hopes that bless our hour of prayer?
Is not the dream of heaven more sweet,
Bright with the living forms of love ?
Does not each trial that we meet
Raise our rapt spirits more above ?
Yes ! death, that pales our curdling cheek,
Tells of an angel's opening bliss —
Again we view the form we seek,
Bright with immortal happiness.
For faith delighted views that scene
Of fadeless glory and of grace,
Forgets the years that intervene,
And bids us see them 'face to face.'
What though a few brief ills of life,
A little pathway marked with tears,
Some struggles of the Christian's strife,
Await us in those future years ; —
Soon, soon they pass ; and even now
Those angel forms may guard our way,
Weave the blest chaplet for our brow,
And guide our footsteps lest they stray.
In every thought to heaven allied,
In every virtuous deed and aim,
Are the departed at our side,
Whose memory fans the sacred flame.
180 THE SACRED
And is this death ? first born to God,
To trace that pure celestial sphere,
And rise in faith and hope unawed,
To joys we scarce can vision here ?
Oh early blest — how vain our sighs ;
Our fond, impetuous tears how vain ;
To heaven we raise our weeping eyes —
Our loss is their eternal gain.
The mother stands in the sacred aisle,
And looks on her child with a trembling smile ;
That smile is mingled with many a fear,
And scarce can she check a rising tear ;
In a world which is full of care and strife,
Do her dreams now picture his future life.
She has brought her babe — she has brought it there,
Where so oft for him she has breathed the prayer ;
She has brought him — an offering to her God,
On the spot where her own fond steps have trod ;
And that early love is mingling now
With a Christian's hope on her kindling brow.
She turns her gaze to that helpless one,
Upon her for love and protection thrown ;
And its feebleness causes the tear to start,
And she presses him closer to her heart;
And to the fount she draws nearer still,
As a pledge she will shield him from every ill.
The holy words on the air arise,
And hushed are that mother's anxious sighs ;
Her thoughts are filled with a deeper faith ;
As she turns to hear what the preacher saith ;
And every doubt has vanished away,
As in fervent trust she kneels down to pray.
Her child and his fate — oh what does it seem
Now, in that holier and sweeter dream ?
What loftier destinies are given —
That feeble thing is the heir of heaven ;
And a mind with powers and talents sublime
Is given to her training, for more than time.
Oh ! as she hears of immortal doom,
How changes upon her cheek the bloom ;
How earnest her prayer to him who gave,
For aid to help her, to succour, and save.
182 THE SACRED
What a sacred trust she feels is her's,
What a deathless hope in her bosom stirs.
It is over — her pledge is borne above,
And her lips have sealed that rite of love ;
Her tears have attested her heart's deep vow,
And smiles of affection are round her now.
She has promised to give him a Christian's trust,
She has raised her thoughts from the things of dust.
It is over — but many and many a year
May return to that mother's breast the fear ;
And as to the altar she now has turned,
Till the holier faith in her bosom burned,
So, through every mortal change and care,
Must Pier strength, her comfort, her peace be prayer.
JOHN, CHAP. IX.
He stood in darkness, and to him unknown
This living world of loveliness and light,
Till, touched by Jesus' hand, the shades of night
Fell from his sightless orbs, and round him shone
The kindling beams of day : and shall we own
The power divine that chased his earthly gloom,
Nor listen to the voice that said, ' I come,
A light to those who see not ; ' from the throne
Of mercy infinite, the heavenly rays
Of truth descend upon the sinking heart
Of darkened man ; the heavy shades depart
Of sorrow, sin, and death, and to his gaze
The glories of immortal love, unfurled,
Disclose the visions of a brighter world.
184 THE SACRED
LUKE, CHAP. VII.
From out the city's gate there came a bier, —
A mother's only son upon it lay,
A widowed mother, who for many a day
Had him alone to love ; and oft the tear
Of bitter grief she poured, as at his side,
With sorrow's trembling step she slowly went.
The Saviour came — with mercy's blest intent,
He gazed upon the hearse, beheld the tide
Of anguish which flowed forth ; compassionate,
8 Weep not,' he said, and touched the bier. ' Arise,
Young man, to life ! ' the dead unclosed his eyes,
And started up from his dark funeral state,
And the blest hand which raised him from the grave,
Him to a mother's throbbing bosom gave.
THE ABSENT FRIEND.
There is an hour in which I think of thee,
'T is when the day-light fades upon the flowers,
And the moon dawns upon the evening hours,
And nature smiles in soft tranquillity.
'T is a sweet hour ; for then the sighing wind,
With dirge-like music, lulls the world to rest ;
More plaintive sings the bird upon her nest,
And all seems blessed : then I call to mind
Thy gentle virtues, and the scenes beloved
Which we together trod, and like a dream
Most passing beautiful do those days seem,
Of confidence serene, and faith approved.
Alas ! even like the bright and sunny day,
Have those delightful scenes all passed away !
186 THE SACRED
Thus said Jesus ; < Go, and do
As thou would'st be done unto.'
— Here thy perfect duty see,
All that God requires of thee.
Would'st thou then rejoice to find
Others generous, just, and kind ;
Think upon these words, and do
As thou would'st be done unto.
Would'st thou, when thy faults are known,
Wish that pardon should be shewn ;
Be forgiving then, and do
As thou would'st be done unto.
Should'st thou helpless be and poor,
Would'st thou not for aid implore ;
Think of others then, and be
What thou would'st they should to thee.
For compassion if thou call,
Be compassionate to all ;
If thou would'st affection find,
Be affectionate and kind.
If thou would'st obtain the love
Of thy gracious God above ;
Then to all his children be
What thou would'st they should to thee.
The past in shadowy distance lies,
Silent and changeless as the dead ;
A world for thought, though from its skies
The glowing light of life has fled ;
For memory, like a moon-beam, plays
O'er the dim scenes of other days.
We cannot bring one treasure back,
Of all we lost or wasted then ;
Nor one step of that devious track
Can ever, ever tread again :
How deep, and awful is the pall
O'er that which nothing can recall.
188 THE SACRED
The future is, we know not what, —
Untried, unseen, unsearchable ;
The present, — a contracted spot,
Where the mind will not, cannot dwell ;
And over these is ever cast
A blight or blessing from the past.
Delusive hope before us springs,
Still seeking some more sunny clime,
And brings upon her halcyon wings
Sweet promise for a future time ;
That time to us may ne'er be known,
The past, — the past is all our own.
Joy may have ecstasies, whose birth
Is of the present, passing hour ;
These wake the spirit into mirth
Or rap the senses by their power ;
But those in which the past hath part
Are feasts of feeling to the heart.
Affliction's cloud, however dark,
Grows lighter by the lapse of years,
And many a sorrow now we mark,
Once deeply felt, whose very tears
Have left, as brighter scenes passed by,
Only a rainbow in the sky.
Guilt seeks to lose his anguish deep
Iu maddening crowds, and lighted halls ;
But time's still shadows onward creep, —
Night's curtain o'er this mockery falls ;
Then darker shade comes gathering fast
Around his path — it is the past,
O God ! that we should dare to do
That, which we dare not think upon ;
Deeds, that will stand before our view,
With all their fatal lustre gone :
Their darker hue alone shall last,
Recorded in the immortal past,
'T is this which makes the wastes of mind,
The wilderness of homes we see.
The pure in heart a peace can find
In their own hidden sanctuary ;
Even though appearing to survive
All that, which made it life to live.
Yes, the bonds broken long ago,
Around the lonely heart that twine,
Almost exist in the warm glow
They borrow from their living shrine:
The loved, who from our side are gone,
Still in a glorious past live on.
190 THE SACRED
Aye, every frail and fading flower
The sunshine of affection rears,
Cherished in friendship's happy hour,
Is precious, though bedewed with tears,
And lovelier in the moonlight glows,
Than when its morn of gladness rose.
I do not grieve that I have known
One, that was ever dear to me ;
Although his kindly voice is gone,
His smile I never more shall see.
The past I can review at will,
And there that smile is beaming still.
I would not lose one bud of joy,
Because I know that it must fade ;
Nor pass one guiltless pleasure by,
But for an hour's enjoyment made ;
Since such delights, even when resigned,
Will gem the track I leave behind.
Each kindness that the zealous care
Of true affection has conferred, —
The language of a parting tear,
The utterance of a gentle word, —
Will be a treasure for the past,
While ever memory's light shall last.
Whenever love or sympathy
The smallest happiness can shed ;
Whenever in another's eye
The gleam of gratitude is read ;
There is a joy will not be old,
Even when the sun itself is cold.
For if, of every secret thought,
A register is kept above ;
If every action we have wrought
Shall meet us in that world of love ;
The past of time and sense will be
The present of eternity.
Then, blessed is the pilgrim's way,
Though eveiy worldly hope be dead,
If to his own untold survey
A host of images is spread,
Before whose front he need not quail,
Even when flesh and heart shall fail.
I ask but that my closing eye
O'er an unclouded past may range,
(So to depart is not to die,)
To sleep but while the scene shall change.
Then wake to find those better things,
Which the eternal future brings.
192 THE SACRED
And day by day she faded — from her eye
Fled the strong brilliancy, yet tenderness
Still triumphed there in mild serenity,
In sweet unchanging looks of loveliness ;
And never did her speaking eye confess
The sufferings that she knew ; still mildly bearing
All that God sent, those orbs but beamed to bless,
For she was prodigal of goodness, sharing
Her joy with all, and still delighting, though despairing.
And others marked the rose upon her cheek,
And hailed the happy omen ; but I knew
The flush was death, for weaker, and more weak,
In its decaying strength her frail form grew ; —
And yet it seemed that death around her threw
But sweeter loveliness, more gentle grace.
Vain — vain — a few short moments fleetly flew, —
A shade came o'er the brightness of her face, —
She meekly bowed her head, and died in my embrace.
In the day-spring of youth, and the dawn of emotion,
When love in its freshness breathed first o'er thy
Thou hast felt the pure joy in its dearest devotion,
Thou has felt the pure thrill it but once can impart.
Such joy, the reward of the just, will be given,
Such love, to blest souls, in the fields of their rest :
As lucid and pure as the dew-drop of heaven,
When it gems in the morning the chaste lily's breast.
If the bosom for one glow with rapture so bright,
And earth can produce an emotion like this ;
What a multiplied sum of ecstatic delight
When its fulness is felt for each spirit in bliss.
194 THE SACRED
There are who fear thy summons, Death !
And all thy pale and cold array ;
The young, who with rejoicing breath
Are opening on life's sunny day.
Yes ! all to them seems fresh and sweet ;
And as they gaze, with raptured eye,
On all the beautiful they meet,
They feel it would be pain to die.
There are to whom thy call would come,
As to the exile's weary heart
Would be the summons to his home ;
That home from which he wept to part.
There are who, worn with cares and tears,
Look on thee as the blessed one,
Whose hand shall close their mortal years,
Before their faith and trust be gone.
And, Death ! there are who look to thee
But as the minister of grace,
And who thy dark approach can see
With smiles, for they have won the race.
The good, the blest ! to thee they trust
To crown them with the immortal wreath ;
And fearless of the dreams of dust,
As conquerors welcome thee, O Death !
Alas ! for those to whom this frame
Of heavenly workmanship is dark ;
Who hear from whence its beauty came,
And yet that beauty never mark ; —
But gaze, with dim and sealed eyes,
On the green earth and laughing skies.
They w T alk abroad, and nature seems
Enveloped in a death-like gloom ;
Unseen its soft and varied gleams, —
To them 't is but a living tomb :
The dawn of the sweet morning light
Can never wake them to delight,
196 THE SACRED
They feel the influence evening brings,
Its gentle calm, its cooling shade ;
But the rich colouring which it flings
On fields and woods, in bloom arrayed,
Alas ! to them 'tis joyless all,
As spread with a funereal pall.
And yet there is a brighter world
Of thought and feeling for them blooms,
And, in their inward soul unfurled,
A sun more brilliant it illumes.
Religion's holy light is their's,
And morning praise, and evening prayers.
And friendship's soft and soothing tone
Still gently meets their charmed ear ;
Mind can with mind communion own,
A sympathy for ever dear ;
Fairer than morning's sunny ray,
And lovelier than the close of day.
But ah ! there are who walk on earth
With every sense a sealed power,
Unconscious from their hapless birth
Of mental charm or inward dower ;
No holy hopes to fire their breast,
But every nobler aim represt.
And are not these more hapless still,
In spirit blinded to the light
That scatters every earthly ill,
And shines amid affliction's night ;
The blinded heart of those whose eyes
Ne'er seek communion with the skies ?
They were two sisters ; and I knew
Them first almost in infancy ;
I loved them as they upward grew
From childhood's sweet simplicity.
They had not only every trace
Of beauty to life's spring-time given, -
Their's was the mind's unfolding grace,
The spirit ripening for heaven.
How blest to watch the dawn begin,
To mark the intellectual ray,
The moral light that burns within,
Thus brightening into perfect day !
198 THE SACRED
A shadow o'er their morning came, —
One fell, its chilly power beneath ;
The other bowed her tender frame, —
Too surely this sad change was death.
I thought we might have passed for years
Through life's green path- way hand in hand ;
For youth, which has no place for fears,
Friendship for other days had planned.
Sweet sisters ! they are hallowed now,
A halo round their names is spread ;
And yet I feel, I know not how,
As if I could not think them dead.
They live in many a work of love,
Their ready hands were wont to share ;
It is not absence can remove
The thought of them that lingers there.
That dwells in relics less than this,
In a lone flower, or tender tree,
Even in the very void that is
Wherever they were used to be.
In that vain look, with which the eye
Some dear familiar object seeks,
In many a gentle memory,
Affliction feels, yet seldom speaks.
They live not in the scenes alone
So fondly imaged from the past,
Which, as the stream of time rolls on,
Are deepening into distance fast; —
But as I saw them in their prime,
Before me now they seem to be,
And love, which knows no bounds of time,
Still blends them with futurity.
Once more their smiling presence comes,
As that which had not passed away,
In the changed circle of our homes,
In meetings of the Sabbath day.
And yet I know they are not here ;
I hear no voice, no form I see.
They live — O God ! I know not where —
But this I know, ' they live to thee.'
200 THE SACRED
To all that lives has God assigned
A strength proportioned to its day ;
The smallest bird that skims the wind
Finds through that pathless air a way.
The tribes that northern regions range,
The polar ice instinctive shun ;
And wing their flighty unknown and strange,
Unerring to a warmer sun.
The frailest forms their heads that raise,
Weak, shivering at the wintry blast,
If they had power, His love would praise,
Who shields them till the storm is past.
And shall not we, His nobler care,
Whose hearts he fills with hope and joy,
With faith to trust, and strength to bear,
In grateful praise our lips employ ?
When first we see consumption's glow
Upon some face we love,
We weep at once the overthrow
Of all the hopes we prove.
Ah ! foolish tears — we weep, we weep,
And yet to them all tears
Will soon be past — we live to reap
The griefs of future years.
For when above their quiet grave
The grass has withered long,
The fears, the cares which life must have
Will still to us belong.
The broken hope will still be ours,
The weary lingering day,
When autumn's gentlest, sweetest flowers
Shall o'er their dust decay.
But their's will be affection's sigh,
A calm and peaceful rest,
202 THE SACRED
A mansion in the bright blue sky,
Amid the eternal blest.
Weep for yourselves, forlorn, bereaved,
For past, for future years,
For life, that has your trust deceived —
Yes — these things call for tears.
But o'er the early blest — the young,
Let no such requiem rise ;
Fragrance and flowers to them belong,
And only nature's sighs.
' THY KINGDOM COME.'
1 Raised on devotion's lofty wing,'
O God, each glowing thought we bring
To celebrate thy praise ;
To-day let care and sorrow cease,
And the blest hope of future peace
Inspire our sacred lays.
Behold the happy earth rejoice ;
Around the world a saviour voice
Proclaims the word of love :
The reign of vice and pain is o'er,
Warfare and strife can rage no more,
Nor sin our virtue move.
Ambition droops her towering head,
Revenge and anger, captive led,
Now cease to haunt our way ;
Pride, in the pomp of state arrayed,
And vile oppression's triumphs fade,
And shun the light of day.
Heirs to a world of blissful rest,
By tyrant sway no more opprest,
We seek the immortal crown ;
And bow before the throne of God,
All fearless of the bigot's rod,
Or superstition's frown.
Father of heaven and earth ! whose eye
Broods o'er the vast eternity,
May thy blest kingdom come ;
While the sure promise Thou hast given
Shall purify our souls for heaven,
And guide our spirits home.
204 THE SACRED
Though my knee bends not at thy holy shrine,
Nor my clasped hands invoke the care of heaven,
The aspiration of my soul is thine,
Father, to thee its secret vow is given,
And its deep adoration : there is love
In the hushed prayer which dwells in every sigh,
Hope in the kindling glance I turn above,
And in thy trust, balm to my misery.
I read thy word, and every thing is good :
Affliction — trial, making us more pure;
Evil — thy wisdom, when 'tis understood ;
And pain — a friend, to teach us to endure ;
Thy ministering angels all — pain, want, and care,
The messengers that draw our hearts to thee,
Not willingly to grieve us, but to shew
The brightness of our better destiny.
THE HEART'S MYSTERY.
O ! who shall say he knows the folds
Which veil another's inmost heart,
The hopes, thoughts, wishes which it holds,
In which he never bore a part ?
That hidden world eye cannot see, —
O ! who shall pierce its mystery ?
Presumptuous aim ! that shrouded soul,
Unmarked by every human gaze,
Is open but to His control
Who traces every secret maze ?
It is not thine to bound its faith,
Or say what feelings swell beneath ?
There may be hope, as pure, as bright
As ever sought eternity, —
There may be light — clear heavenly light,
Where all seems cold and dark to thee ;
And where thy spirit mourns the dust,
There may be trust — delightful trust.
206 THE SACRED
The lingering beam of twilight dies,
And canst thou whisper where 't is fled ?
There was a glow in summer skies,
Where was that rosy lustre shed ?
The sweetness of the evening dews,
Their fragrance how do they diffuse ?
And tell me, spring's first tender flower,
How does it burst its icy sheath ?
The Zephyrs on their winged hour,
What spirit bids them freshly breathe ?
If nature's secrets be not thine,
How then the human soul, divine ?
Go — bend to God, and leave to Him
The mystery of thy brother's heart,
Nor vainly think his faith is dim,
Because in thine it hath no part ;
He too is mortal, and like thee
Would soar to immortality.
And if in duty's hallowed sphere,
Like thee he meekly, humbly bends,
With hands unstained, and conscience clear
With life's temptation he contends ;
O ! leave him that unbroken rest,
The peace that shrines a virtuous breast.
And if his thoughts and hopes should err,
Still view him with a gentle eye,
Remembering doubt, and change, and fear
Are woven in man's destiny ;
And when these clouds are past away,
That truth shall dawn with opening day !
Roses wrested from their stems,
Fling few odours on the air ;
Beautiful, but broken gems,
Can no master-hand repair.
Earthly glories soon are gone,
Brightly though they blaze and burn ;
Future glories may come on,
But the past will ne'er return.
Man's all penetrating mind
Travels time's creations o'er,
From the eternity behind
To the eternity before.
208 THE SACRED
Though his era is a day,
And a point his domicile,
Thought has an unmeasured way,
Boundless is his fancy's will.
Out of darkness we descend,
Into darkness do we go,
Whence we come, and whither tend,
Little do the wisest know.
We are but a spark at birth,
Plucked from immortality;
Flung a few short years on earth,
And extinguished when we die.
Dormant though its fires may be,
In the metal's heart they slept ;
And in chill mortality,
Sparks immortal may be kept.
Waiting till a power divine
Strike the dull, cold earth, and say
< Now again — arise, and shine
In the glorious light of day.'
The heart is not forgetful ; the bright eye
To-day may gaze, and may forget to-morrow ;
But on the heart's pure tablet, joy and sorrow
Are traced in lines that fade not ; we may die,
But we cannot forget rapture and agony.
The world may pass before our careless sight,
And day may press on day, and our years vanish
Numberless, noiseless, but we cannot banish
The phantoms of the past — gloomy or bright,
Our life's young morning sees them, and they haunt
Then happy he whose memory is fraught
With virtuous images ; his heart ungrieving
Shall muse upon them with a fond believing
Of its own bliss. These things have I been taught
By suffering, and by sorrow I this wisdom bought.
210 THE SACRED
SLEEP, SPIRIT, SLEEP.'
Sleep, spirit, sleep ; awhile forget
Each torturing thought that throngs thy brain,
And lull each idly vain regret
For blessings never thine again.
They haunt thee still, the low dull cares
Of soul-subduing poverty ;
Even now the steel thine high heart wears,
And it is goading inwardly.
Hast thou not mind, hast thou not heart ?
If these be thine, O what is lost ?
Thy heaven of peace cannot depart,
Though thy young hopes the world has crost.
From this bad earth thy trust is riven,
But raise thy weeping eye above,
And swift, by fate's dark tempest driven,
Thou soon shalt reach that home of love.
Sleep, spirit, sleep ! awhile forget
Each torturing thought that throngs thy brain,
And lull each idly vain regret
For blessings never thine again.
THE RELIGION OF NATURE.
Where'er we roam, o'er hill or dale,
Through thickest wood or deepest dell,
Or when we watch the distant sail,
Where waves upon the sea-beach swell, -
'T is Nature charms in every form
Of soft or solemn, wild or grand,
In azure sky or raging storm,
In lofty rocks or pebbled strand.
Where'er we cast our glance around,
Above, below, on earth or sea,
On meadow fields or castled mound,
On waving grass or spreading tree,
On humblest flowers, or forests tall,
Where insects sport, or birds rejoice,
'T is Nature charms in each, in all,
In all, in each, we hear her voice.
She sings in birds, she paints in flowers,
She speaks in each created thing,
She gives to each those wondrous powers
Which to our grateful senses bring
212 THE SACRED
The ardent impulse to adore
That God who framed this mighty plan ;
And when in praise our joy flows o'er,
'T is then that Nature speaks in Man I
My Father ! when around me spread,
I see the shadows of the tomb ;
And life's bright visions droop and fade,
And darkness veils my future doom ;
O in that anguished hour I turn
With a still trusting heart to thee !
And holy thoughts still shine and burn
Amid that cold, sad destiny.
They fill my soul with heavenly light,
While all around is pain and woe ;
And strengthened by them in thy sight,
Father, to drink thy cup I go !
Thy will be done — 1 will not fear
The fate provided by thy love ;
Though clouds and darkness shroud me here,
I know that all is bright above.
The'stars of heaven are shining on,
Though these frail eyes are dim with tears ;
The hopes of earth indeed are gone,
But are not ours th' immortal years ?
Father ! forgive the heart that clings
Thus trembling to the things of time ;
And bid my soul, on angel wings,
Ascend into a purer clime !
There shall no doubts disturb its trust,
No sorrows dim celestial love ;
But these afflictions of the dust,
Like shadows of the night, remove.
That glorious hour will well repay
A life of toil, and care, and woe ;
O Father! joyful on my way,
To drink thy bitter cup I go !
214 THE SACRED
Boast not of memory's magic powers,
Restoring past and happier hours —
She opens wounds of grief again,
And gives us back whole years of pain.
No — give me hope's delightful views,
Her sunny skies, her brilliant hues,
Her star which sheds, with changeless ray,
A bright, unclouded, endless day.
But who beneath that star may live ?
To whom may hope her influence give ?
To those who would with steadfast faith
Pour at her shrine their latest breath.
To them that glorious light appears,
That beams upon immortal years ;
To them those glorious scenes unfold,
By angels sung, and prophets told.
THE PEACE OF HEAVEN.
O give me that peace which the world cannot give,
That gilds with its brightness the gloomiest day ;
'T is a crown of rejoicing to them that believe,
For they know that the world cannot take it away.
And then may its torments, its slaughter, and sword
Be lifted o'er them that are strong in their Lord ;
But their peace is secure, while on Him is their stay,
For the world cannot give it, nor take it away.
The waves may roll high, and the tempest may roar,
And toss the poor bark on the white foaming sea ;
It may frighten and vex us, but cannot do more,
For Jesus is with us, and faithful is He.
And then may the hand of the foeman prevail,
And turn us adrift to the merciless gale,
But our peace is secure, for on Him is our stay,
And the world cannot give it, nor take it away.
And when our last foe shall encompass us round,
For a time, with the cold icy chains of the tomb,
If then in the Saviour of sinners we're found,
Our woes are all lost in the glory to come.
216 THE SACRED OFFERING,
Fair Hope ! then adieu ! for our triumph it is,
Thou art lost in the great consummation of bliss ;
Our peace yet endures, for on God is our stay,
And a world that is past, cannot take it away.
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